When you’ve parked the car for the day, you may consider some suggestions for summer drinking as you read DTW.
This isn’t quite the core subject of DTW, I know. However, Simon Kearne is a well-regarded member of the imbibing community and DTW is the home of the Archie Vicar archive, a shrine to food, drink and crashing cars. Today I would like to reveal my suggestions for summer relaxation.
The title photo shows a bottle of Belsazar rosé vermouth. As you know, vermouth is mostly sold as red (sweet), dry (not sweet) and bianco (clear and sweet, heavy on vanilla). The rosé variety is rarer. Lillet rosé is not a vermouth as it contains no wormwood; Cinzano and Lustau make versions but I have not sampled them. Belsazar’s version is the one we are discussing today. What can you do with it?
The simple mode of ingestion is to chill it and serve it neat. You can consider it a kind of hefty aperatif – it’s ABV is 18% making it close to port and weightier than most vermouth which is 15% ABV. Drunk neat you will sip it slowly and notice the citrus character and the long after-taste (the bitterness of the artemisia comes forward).
If you want a long drink you can mix it with tonic water and throw in some ice. I don’t think it needs a garnish. I found that Fever Tree’s low sugar tonic goes best with this one. A ratio of 2:1 tonic:vermouth works for me.
You can also move up the ABV gradient and mix the rosé with gin. There are two schools of thought on this. One is to use fancy gin and the other is to use the cheapest stuff you can buy. I have veered towards supermarket gin and use a no-name brand called Ginnton. I tried it with a costly boutique gin from Jutland, Fary Lochan. To be honest, the Belsazar swamped the gin and it was money down the sink.
Either way, you have a version of the martini which lands between the austerity of the dry martini (made with dry vermouth) and the sweet, brashnes of the classic martini (made with red vermouth). I find the citrus element of the rosé vermouth balances the juniper and herbs in the gin without masking it.
Having tried at least five or six different mixes of dry martini and a lot of classic martinis, I am coming to the conclusion the dry martini is not for me. The only one I really felt was worth the trouble involved super-costly Ferdinand’s Saar gin and Dolin dry vermouth, at almost bar-prices per glass. So, I think the rosé martini is a good compromise and especially well-suited to the summer months.