Spanish vermouth / aperitif / digestif
I'm off to Marbella this week and keen to hear from anyone with experience of Spanish versions of the above that are a match for their more popular Italian and French cousins - for gin and bourbon based cocktails.
Also, has anyone had Licor 43 with suggestions for simple cocktails?
Yzaguirre (Reus) seems fairly widespread at bars. I have had Perucchi (Barcelona) and Lacuesta (Haro). I use them interchangeably with Dolin or Punt e Mes or Cocchi or Vya.
I have Licor 43 in my bar at home and have not found a great use of it (apart from having straight or with soda or tonic). I periodically use it as a substitute for any recipe that requires an amaro (or sometimes just a dash or two in lieu of a conventional bitters). Slate had an article ... let me see if I can find it. It was ostensibly about rum and coke but it discussed making a coca cola like drink from liquors. I have tried to do the same. In fact they talk about a mix based on Ramazotti which is my go-to for a digestif that tastes like coke. I just use Ramazotti and tonic water but they recommended using Licor43,Galiano, Benedictine and Chartreuse (green).
I brought back Gin Mare on my last trip to Spain and have really enjoyed it. I have had Gin Xoriguer as well and liked it but less than Gin Mare.
Currently in Marbella so will see if I can pick any of these up.
I went on my first mission yesterday, to a bar recommended for their cocktails. Seeing Negroni and Manhattan on the menu was a good start. When I asked which whiskey they use in the Manhattan (thinking Bourbon or Rye), I was met with the response 'Jim Beam or Southern Comfort!'. I nealry walked out then but ended ordering an above average Gin cocktail. Then I got talking to the owner and found she was from Barcelona and takes her Gin very seriously - not to mention has a very good selection.
So, I had a mini tasting lat night with the intention to pop in every night to try different G&T combinations. Last night I had the following
Gin Mare with sprig of Thyme (tasty, almost felt like after dinner drink)
Brockmans with pieces of raspberry and strawberry (absolutely delicious)
Both were served with Fever Tree tonic
From memory, she also carries these
London No 1
And a few more I have forgotten
My favorite brands are Yzaguirre, Cañí and Iris. Licor 43 is oversweetened for my taste.
In Spain vermut is a drink in itself for the most part. It's often served simply with club soda (or a soda siphon to add yourself) and usually a sharp flavored garnish like lemon, an olive, even a dash of vinegar.
Though I've had plenty of negroni(s) in Spain as well.
I think, and this is a big generalization, that Spanish vermut usually has less of a sweet vanilla flavor than some of the well know Italians like Carpani Antica and is maybe more bitter.
@caganer - I have a week to experiment with the different varieties! Manhattan is probably my favourite cocktail, especially during the gloomy British winters. While people rave about Carpani Antica, it's not meant to be very good in a Manhattan, overpowering the drink
Re Negronis, I am interested to try in Spain as much for the variation in Gins used. I am obsessed with Gin at the moment but have yet to try any from Spain including Gin Mare which is now starting to be stocked over here.
My plan is to hit the best cocktail bar/s in Marbella and order Manhattans and Negronis. Any I like, I will persuade the bartender to give up the recipe!