Tastes in alcohol come and go, but at the moment vermouth is enjoying more attention than it has had for a while. As a component in a long drink or a cocktail, it takes a lovely photo, and often those insta-snaps suggest a certain atmosphere where there is maybe just a little more time for unhurried contemplation of the good things.
Vermouth is a fortified, aromatized wine. You start with a base wine, generally a white wine. To fortify it, you add some spirit-strength alcohol. And along the way there are a couple of techniques for extracting and adding to the mix your secret recipe of herbs and spices, with perhaps some caramel to sweeten the style and give a rich golden colour to the finished product.
Enter Anna and Orla Snook-O'Carroll, who moved to Valentia Island, Co. Kerry in 2018 and began Valentia Island Vermouth. The pair's first bottling, called Ór, is a sweet and powerfully aromatic drink that takes its herbal complexity in part from (a secret recipe of) locally foraged botanicals as well as from more exotic ingredients not yet available in the hedgerows of the Kingdom.
We're delighted to stock this sumptuous new Irish delicacy. It's a fine drink, whether straight, over ice, or in one of the mixes suggested on the neck tag of each bottle in this first batch. The presentation is beautiful, making a bottle of Valentia Island Vermouth a perfect and original gift. What's more, the energy and flair that Anna and Orla put in to what they do—new styles of vermouth are already in development—seem likely to make the product's exuberantly enthusiastic reception by public, trade and press only the beginning of the gold rush.