Vermouth is having its moment. In my home of the previous 20 years, Australia, there are plenty of local versions such as Maidenii, Causes & Cures and Regal Rogue in addition to imported Vermouths such as the excellent Casa Mariol from Spain.
Visit Spain and for a few Euros a sweetened vermut on ice is a terrific alternative to sherry or a beer.
Vermouth is a fortified sweetened wine, red, white and sometimes pink. What is common is that they usually contain wormwood (wermut) and a number of other herbs and sometimes spices. I’ve been experimenting with my own infusions using Artemisia afra or African Wormwood with the aim of producing another local version.
Caperitif South African vermouth
Grapes: Chenin blanc
Price: About R190+. Available online.
Caperitif is a vermouth that brings with it the taste of the Cape. With fynbos, kalmoes (sweet flag) and naartjies (mandarins) it uses 35 local indigenous ingredients.
And it is the taste of buchu that shines through with a nose and flavour of what Europeans would recognise as similar to provincial herbs such as thyme, lavender and rosemary. It’s an evocative aroma.
I love to sip it in a straight class filled with ice and either a slice of orange or atwist of peel.
Alternatively Caperitif makes an excellent negroni with equal quantities Geometric Gin and Campari.
A couple of local bars are catching on to the worldwide trend and are making their own vermouth for cocktail mixing, including the relatively new Cause & Effect Bar in Cape Town and Mootee Bar in Melville here in Jozi.
New to South Africa, I’m exploring the diversity of wine in the country at one bottle a week. English by birth, I’ve spent the last 20 years in Australia writing about food and drink for daily newspapers, glossy magazines and my blog, founded in 2005.
I now live in Johannesburg and am educating myself on all the amazing, new, interesting and avant-garde wines available in this country.
Note: I endeavour to pay for all wines myself and I practice ethical blogging.
Also published on Medium.