Perucchi Vermouth Drinkable On Its Own

Perucchi makes a vermouth that can stand alone

Unlike some geographically rooted spirits (tequila, bourbon), vermouth tends to evoke cocktails more than places. The fortified wine is known for its role in martinis and Manhattans, not its terroir.

Perucchi, a venerable brand from the outskirts of Barcelona, aims to change that with a line of vermouths that have a thick Spanish accent and don't need the addition of booze to shine.

The white vermouth is more spicy than herbal, with a subtle ginger kick; it drinks well over ice with a twist of lemon. The red is meaty and complex, a postprandial ringer akin to full-bodied sherry, which we enjoyed with a spritz of seltzer and an orange slice. Both are a touch sweet, but a dry version is in the pipeline.

The classic Catalan treatment calls for a midday glass or two with salty snacks–olives, fried almonds, white anchovies and assertive cheeses–but the pairing works at any time, especially as a perfect foil to the first balmy nights of summer.