Everything Nice Cocktail in Celebration of Vermouth Week
Did you know it was vermouth week? You can bet we’re pretty excited that the folks at Tales of the Cocktail decided to shine the light on our favorite fortified, aromatized, beverage. We’ve got mouth-watering posts planned all week with happy hour recipes, an interview, and our best tips for pairing Vya with a variety of spirits. Stay tuned!
To inaugurate vermouth week, we’re posting a video of an especially spice-ful Vya holiday cocktail (above) and an interview with Winemaker and vermouth maker Darin Peterson (below). Darin has holiday pie on the brain. That’s one way he describes the aromatic magic of making Vya. Check out the alchemy of Vya-making and stay tuned for the rest of our a 5-day series celebrating vermouth and all of the wonderful ways you can enjoy it!
The following is from a conversation between Andrew Quady’s daughter, Allie Quady, and Winemaker Darin Peterson:
“The recipe?,” Darin asks with a smile, “I don’t really know or I’m not supposed to know…”
The recipe behind Vya Vermouth is a secret he explains. The exact 15 to 20 varieties of herbs – the proportions, the infusions – are all stored away in the notes of Michael Blaylock, Quady Winery’s Director of Winemaking. Blaylock’s notes were originally started while working closely with Andrew Quady to make the first batches of vermouth in 1998 and they get updated every year. This secret recipe is tweaked from year to year as, for example, the character of the cinnamon from Indonesia changes, and he finds that cinnamon from Mexico brings in a needed dimension.
“The [difficulty] factor is high, Darin says, because the qualities of the herbs change from year to year and sometimes the supply differs due to things beyond our control, like agricultural calamity far away. We end up with maybe 80 different herbs coming in: the same herb from different lots will have different strengths (which we like) and for me it becomes an eighty-herb math test that Mike hands me, with each herb weighted differently, and each affecting every other herb. We had this one ingredient – a very special orange peel, from a certain African country, and after the first year we haven’t been able to get that exact same source, and Mike still misses that specific ingredient.”
Darin describes the ever changing dynamic of vermouth-making:
“Once you’ve had success, you try to replicate your success, but with vermouth you’re a bit of an alchemist. It’s like cooking and there are slight differences each time. You really have to wrestle with the recipe to uncover all the same characteristics as the year before and to maintain a consistent product.”
And his own feelings about being a part of the process:
“It’s heady, if I dig into a giant bag of cardamom in the morning, it gets in my clothes and I’m just thinking pie all day long.” As you infuse and steep, he added, the flavors deepen and change and build quickly. With wine, the deepening of the flavors takes months, but because vermouth is really like a tea, you can see the results in a much shorter time. “I feel like an artisan watching over Vya.”
Darin Peterson works closely under the supervision of Michael Blaylock, Quady’s Director of Winemaking, on every batch of Vya.
To experience a bit of the heady spiciness Darin feels when he’s “thinking pie all day long”, mix up a Vya cocktail full of holiday spice and enjoy the magic made only at Quady Winery…
Vya Vermouth and Essensia Orange Muscat create a symphony of bittersweet orange and winter spices in this nostalgic vermouth on-the-rocks cocktail. Warm sweet hints of cardamom and clove from Vya Sweet balance with cool, fresh herbs of Vya Extra Dry. Essensia and Green Chartreuse add sweetness and complexity.
- 2 ounces Vya Sweet Vermouth
- 1 ounce Vya Extra Dry Vermouth
- 3/4 ounce Essensia Orange Muscat
- 1 dash Green Chartreuse
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain in a glass with ice and add an orange peel.