Independent importer and distributor Love Drinks has added a new range of Catalan vermouths to its portfolio. The collection, called El Bandarra, is made by sixth-generation producers the Virgili brothers, of the renowned Catalan winery Casa Berger.
‘Vermouth is not just another cocktail ingredient in Spain, but a drink that is celebrated daily in cafes, restaurants and vermuterias,’ said Kirsty Loveday, founder of Love Drinks. ‘Although still used by mixologists in countless Negronis and Martinis around the world, interest has been growing around the drink’s "aperitif" appeal.’
The range is comprised of a red and a white vermouth, both with an abv of 15%. The red is a Xarel·lo and Macabeo blend, macerated with 50 herb extracts such as clove, cinnamon and bitter orange. The wine is then fortified, caramel is added and eventually it’s matured in used oak barrels for two months.
Meanwhile, the white is a blend of Xarel·lo and Garnacha Blanca, macerated with over 40 herb extracts including vanilla, wormwood and clove. After fortification and the addition of a little amount of rectified grape must for sweetness, the vermouth is rested in tanks for two months before release.
Casa Berger is not new to vermouth production. In fact, it has been producing the fortified wines since 1962, but only sold them locally in bulk until the Virgili brothers decided to bottle the stuff in 2014.
‘Vermouth is an attitude. Chilling out on a terrace and enjoying the good times,’ commented Alex Virgili, co-founder of El Bandarra. ‘That’s [the] El Bandarra style and it’s also the philosophy behind our vermouth. Served simply on the rocks… it is beautifully refreshing, flavoursome and the perfect way of preparing the stomach for food.’