After 292 years of existence, the city of Baltimore has its first-ever hometown vermouth: Vermú Rosé. It comes to us from the Baltimore-based Wine Collective, who produces the spirit by distilling locally grown grapes into tinctures that are macerated with cinchona bark, Spanish oranges, chamomile, wormwood, gentian root, juniper berries, clove and star anise. The maker notes that the 16.5% ABV vermouth is made with half the sugar often found in commercial vermouths and amari.
Vermú Rosé has a tart and juicy nose that promises grapefruits and blackberries as well as coriander, clove and a hint of rosemary. It starts sweet but tart on the palate, beginning with juicy grapefruit and orange slices that are soon grounded by the green herbal notes of rosemary and coriander alongside a touch of clove spice.
A big, juicy hit of blackberry takes us to the back, where it’s coupled to a familiar but welcome quinine bitterness and the faintest hint of black peppercorn, yielding a finish that’s at once juicy, bitter and spicy, with enjoyable complexity. Vermú is a highly drinkable rosé vermouth with real backbone.
Though pleasant on its own, I also found it to be a rewarding sipper with equal parts soda and a couple of cubes. In this format, Vermú Rosé provides that citrusy, blackberry freshness as well as the bitter hit of quinine at the back in one highly refreshing, low-ABV package.
I’m not yet certain if Vermú Rosé will snatch National Bohemian’s crown as the preferred beverage of Charm City, but it certainly deserves a chance.
— 16.5% ABV