Vermouth Day is on 21st March, not that we need an excuse to enjoy this ancient and glorious fortified wine.

Vermouth has been around since around 400 BC. A fortified wine, blended with herbs and spices, it probably first appeared in Greece, no doubt part of the power behind much philosophical thought.

Modern vermouth though began in the 18th Century in Torino (Turin) Italy and was at first mostly mostly used in medicine. Even today, that unique flavour still has that connotation of something that’s ‘good for you’. In fact, the word Vermouth comes from Vermut, which is itself German from the English Wormwood, a bitter medicinal herb.

Before long though, vermouth began to be served neat as an apéritif in Turin cafes, and soon after became a crucial ingredient for classic cocktails such as Martinis, Manhattans, and Negronis.

There are two main types of vermouth, sweet and dry, but all are made from a base of a neutral grape wine or unfermented wine. Extra alcohol is then added followed by each manufacturer’s unique choice of aromatic herbs, roots, and tree barks.

At first, martinis used sweet vermouth, but at the turn of the century drier French vermouths began cropping up in cocktails. White vermouth is often used in cooking, especially with fish,

As a fortified wine, Vermouth does not go off as fast as normal wine and an opened bottle is good for around three months.

Read about Reus, the Spanish ‘capital’ of Vermut.

Here are two Vermouths you should be pouring on Vermouth Day and Every Day

El Bandarra Vermouths are made in Barcelona while STARLINO Rosso Vermouth is produced at the  Torino Distillati in Italy.

Both El Bandarra and Hotel STARLINO come in very stylish bottles. El Bandarra vermouths hark back to the golden age of vermouth, a time when the bars of Barcelona hand-painted tapas on the menu on their windows with colourful lettering to attract passers-by. This is mirrored on the El Bandarra glass bottles, illustrated with the tapas that El Bandarra vermouths pair perfectly with. 

The STARLINO Rosso Vermouth bottle is inspired by and celebrates Italy’s turn of the twentieth century design and architecture, which is famous in Torino, and has a wonderful porcelain stopper resembling a door knob.

El Bandarra Rojo vermouth is smooth and appetising with a perfect bitter-sweet balance. El Bandarra Rojo is made with over 50 native botanicals and local fruits including clove, cinnamon and bitter orange, making this vermouth a party essential. This classic vermouth was created in 1962 by the Virgili brothers’ grandfather.

El Bandarra Blanco vermouth is a white wine aperitif that is refreshing with undertones of vanilla. El Bandarra Blanco is made from white Garnacha and Xarel-lo grapes  blended with more than 40 herbs and natural flavours, including vanilla, wormwood and cloves.

STARLINO Rosso is a classic “Vermouth di Torino” made from a blend of Italian white wine Sicilian Ansonica, Cataratto wines and Marsala wine. This is then blended with a careful selection of botanicals including Wormwood, bitter orange and cloves. The Red Vermouth is then aged in ex-Kentucky Bourbon Barrels for six months to give a rich, spicy, vanilla flavour. 

Here are three ways to enjoy El Bandarra and Hotel STARLINO this Vermouth Day: 

 El Bandarra Vermouth on The Rocks: 

Whilst many vermouths are hidden away in cocktails such as Martinis and Negronis, El Bandarra are on a mission to champion and celebrate high-quality vermouths by encouraging people to enjoy them on the rocks and appreciate them as a delicious and refreshing aperitif.

El Bandarra Blanco Vermouth is best garnished with a lemon twist and an olive whilst El Bandarra Rojo is best enjoyed on the rocks with a slice of orange.

STARLINO Rosso Vermouth 

STARLINO Rosso is best enjoyed on the rocks, or mixed into a classic Negroni or Manhattan cocktail:

STARLINO Rosso Manhattan: 

1 Part STARLINO Rosso | 1 Part Rye | 2 Dashes Bitters 

Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with STARLINO Maraschino Cherries 

STARLINO Rosso Negroni: 

1 Part STARLINO Rosso | 1 Part Campari | 1 Part Gin 

Add STARLINO Rosso, Campari, Gin to an Old Fashioned glass. 

Stir and serve with a twist of fresh orange peel and a STARLINO Maraschino Cherry.

El Bandarra Rojo Vermouth RRP: £20.00 for a 1 litre bottle. ABV: 15% 

Available from Waitrose, Amazon, The Whisky Exchange, Master of Malt and

El Bandarra Blanco Vermouth RRP: £20.00 for a 1 litre bottle. ABV: 15% 

Available from: Amazon, The Whisky Exchange, Master of Malt and

STARLINO Rosso Vermouth RRP: £23 for 75cl. 

Available from: Amazon, The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt