The tradition of vermouth in Valencia

Public date: 
Friday 22 September 2017

Cocktails and sherry have become more fashionable in recent years… and so has drinking vermouth, or vermut as is known in Valencia. The aromatic fortified wine is definitely making a come back in the city as a drink of choice when meeting friends for an aperitif before lunch, and there are several excellent places where you can enjoy this tradition.

If you have tried a Negroni cocktail, or commercial vermouth brands like Martini or Cinzano, you will be familiar with the sweet taste of vermut (also spelt vermú), a wine infused with different herbs and spices. But, in many cases, the best vermouth is the home-made or local version served in a taberna or wine bar (with or without soda). Add ice and a slice of lemon, or sometimes orange, and enjoy! But tomar el vermut or, as is sometimes expressed in Spanish, vermutear, means much more than just drinking vermouth. The expression is synonymous with meeting with friends for a quick drink and a snack before lunch, to open your appetite. In fact, some people may even choose to drink something else as an aperitif, though they would be missing out on a delicious drink! In Valencia, several bars have helped bring back the tradition of vermut. Here are some of the best places to try:

  • La Bernarda (Cobertizo de Santo Tomás 7): a popular place in the Mercado de Tapineria, perfect for a stop when exploring the Barrio del Carmen. Sit in the terraza and enjoy a typical almuerzo mid-morning or come later for a vermut. Their baguettes and rice dishes are pretty good too!
  • Casa Montaña (José Benlliure 69): a classic wine bar in the Cabanyal seafaring district. Try their artisan vermut, straight out of the barrel, maybe with a plate of cured ham or some anchovies
  • Taberna El Vermut (Albalat dels Tarongers 12): popular with students, given its proximity to Valencia’s University, this small taberna is renowned for its tortilla and ensaladilla rusa… and of course its signature home-made vermut.
  • Bar Vermúdez (Sueca 16): one of the best vermuterias in Valencia, in the trendy Ruzafa district. Here you will find not one, but a whole menu of local, national and international vermouths to choose from.
  • Los Madriles (Reino de Valencia 48): a modern taberna in the Ensanche area which is spearheading the return of the tradition of vermut, served with a selection of mouth-watering tapas.
  • Vinostrum (Plaza Mossen Sorell): a traditional bodega or wine bar in the Barrio del Carmen , serving typical Mediterranean snacks and salazones (cured meats and fish), together with an excellent selection of vermuts.

There may be other places where you can enjoy a good vermut in Valencia, of course, so wherever you see vermut casero (home-made vermouth) advertised, just go for it! Just remember that vermut is an aperitif – it is, after all, a fortified wine and can pack a punch! – so a small glass before lunch, enjoyed in good company, is all you need to get those taste buds going. Salud!