It All Starts With a Good Vermouth

The aperitif custom experiencing a second golden age

Gustar

Puesto de comida (2021-01-15) by Pablo ValdaGustar

Like many local traditions, the history of vermouth goes back to the immigrants. The custom arrived with Spanish and Italian workers who invoked the customs of their origins to alleviate their homesickness.

Puesto de comida (2021-01-15) by Pablo ValdaGustar

The antipasto and tapas of their home countries came together as picadas, accompanied by vermouth, an aromatic wine with herbs that was designed by the Greeks, developed in the Middle Ages, and mass-produced by the end of the 19th century under different formulas and labels.

Cafetería (2021-02-05/2021-02-05) by Juan Pablo LanciottiGustar

 For many years, in every bar or club in the barrio, celebrations entailed the arrival of an aperitif—red or white vermouth with a dash of soda—at the table, accompanied by a triplet of three small plates with cubes of cheese, salami, or mortadella, and olives. 

Buñuelos de acelga con alioli (2021-02-05/2021-02-05) by Juan Pablo LanciottiGustar

Always bolstered by some bread in a wicker basket, vermouth became so popular that other snacks emerged, and new concoctions were added to the offering.

Buñuelo de pescado (2021-01-20/2021-01-20) by Juan Pablo LanciottiGustar

Fritters, whether filled with Swiss chard, spinach, fish, or brains, became typical companions of vermouth.

Puesto de comida (2021-01-15) by Leo LibermanGustar

Many drinks that are currently stocked in bars have existed across three centuries of history. Two classics were born around 1863: Hesperidina (with a base of bitter or sour oranges) and Pineral (with citrus fruit peel). 

Puesto de comida (2021-01-15) by Pablo ValdaGustar

In line with consumers’ proletariat origins, Amargo Obrero (with mountain herbs) emerged in Rosario and created the golden age of vermouth.

Puesto de comida (2021-01-15) by Pablo ValdaGustar

After three decades of splendor, the vermouth custom began to slow down in the 1980s when its consumption remained reserved to customers of older generations and those feeling nostalgic. However, over the last few years, the boom has been reborn. 

Cafetería (2021-02-05/2021-02-05) by Juan Pablo LanciottiGustar

Highlights of the bars that cemented the custom’s reappraisal and attracted a younger crowd are the renovated Los Galgos and the Café San Juan La Vermutería. The Fuerza in Chacarita is another project that created its own vermouths (Red, White, and Primavera).

Puesto de comida (2021-01-15) by Leo LibermanGustar

The return of vermouth was fueled by young bartenders who came to its rescue, as well as revivals of the cocktail bar and the return of certain trends of yesteryear, the blossoming of the hipster subculture and the subsequent reappraisal of retro.

Pulpería (2021-02-05/2021-02-05) by Edgardo ReinaGustar

As a product and as a tradition, vermouth returned to the scene and modernized its approach. It reappeared on menus in historic bars—notably the ones mentioned—and in the barrio, and refreshed bars that began to lay claim to their own signature cocktails.

Restaurant y parrilla (2021-01-23/2021-01-24) by Julián GómezGustar

Over the last few years, vermouth bars have started to surface. Following this trend, labels with new directions were born, historic ones returned, and vermouth on tap became popular.

Puesto de comida (2021-01-15) by Leo LibermanGustar

Picadas also diversified, with the return of small plates with lupini beans, pickles, French fries, tortillas, haricot beans or pickled aubergines, liverwurst, or classic Swiss chard fritters.

Restaurant y parrilla (2021-01-23/2021-01-24) by Julián GómezGustar

The 9 million gallons (40 million liters) consumed per year of one of the most famous aperitifs in 1950 has now dropped to 1 million gallons (5 million liters), with over double the population.  

Puesto de comida (2021-01-15) by Leo LibermanGustar

Even so, vermouth is celebrating its renaissance and reinvention, but with the DNA imprinted by its ancestors who arrived by boat wanting to escape hunger and eat the world, in principle, with a toothpick.

Credits: Story

Editor: Diego Marinelli/Text: Aníbal Mendoza 

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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