When you wander around the streets of Barcelona, in search of something to eat, you may pass by bars or restaurants advertising ‘Vermut, 2€!’.
Image credit: michael clarke stuff
Vermut, Catalan for vermouth, is the same thing that is mixed in your Manhattan and Martini. And just like how some of these cocktails are served, Vermut is served on the rocks with an olive or an orange slice. A few sips in the drink, you will notice that its has a more spiced up and herbaceous taste compared to the ones you taste in your home cocktails.
Vermut is a quintessential Spanish culinary experience that you will not find in just any old tapas bar.
A popular Barcelonian activity is Fer el Vermut, which is somehow the equivalent of brunch. While brunch has layers of meaning—inviting someone to eat breakfast food near lunchtime and beverages. When you invite a friend to fer el vermut, it is pretty much the same as going out for brunch. Drinking vermut and eating salty titbits together.
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Fel el Vermut is also a meaningful interpersonal ritual. And just like brunch, this ritual occurs during the weekend mornings and early afternoons. Similar to ordering coffee at 3pm in Rome or getting a mimosa at 9pm at a neighbourhood dive bar, ordering a Vermut in Barcelona after the designated brunch timings might earn you some hidden eyerolls from the bartenders. As long as you get what you want, who cares right?
A slight parallel to brunch, you don’t have to leave your humble home to have a vermut. If you want to host your very own fer el vermut at home, you just have to look for bottles that are made by traditional producers such as Yzaguirre, Miro and Perucci.
The best way to get a taste of traditional vermut is at the Vermuteria in Barcelona, where the vermut obsession started. Come around during the weekends at noon, if you are able to get a table, you’ll get to experience the cross section of the city partaking together.