I know you came here to read about whiskey but when discussing whiskey-based cocktails the lead spirit isn’t always the most important player. This is never truer than when discussing Vermouth. The type of Vermouth you use in a cocktail can either sink it into disaster or elevate it to greatness. Ever on the hunt for an exceptional Vermouth to pair with my whiskey, Vermouth Routin Original Rouge is a welcome addition to my cocktail bar. With flavors of jammy fig, rich oak, deep caramel, and baking spices, this Vermouth is a perfect complement to even the stoutest of whiskies.
Thankfully, the opportunity to test drive my new bottle discovery presented itself. We recently had a family member stay with us and she is a daily Manhattan tippler if there ever was one. As a good host, I offered to make her a cocktail, for which I used the Routin Rouge. From the first sip, she was taken by it and this Vermouth made a serious impression. We had an instant convert!
The distinction of the Routin Rouge comes from its rich history, which dates back to 1883 when Philibert Routin alchemically married 24 herbs and spices to craft one of the most popular vermouths in the Alps. Nearly a century and a half later, Routin Rouge still bears its maker’s name and employs its signature recipe (which is tucked away in a safe along with Routin’s other proprietary recipes). The process of making this Vermouth is not a quick one, taking four weeks for the two dozen ingredients to blend together with Vin de Savoie, a local Alpine grape varietal. After all the goodness has soaked in, Routin adds Sauvignon Blanc, dumps the mixture into oak barrels, and are aged for six months. As the final step, aged and unaged Vermouth are mingled together to yield a rich, balanced final product. The care and legacy of this process is apparent in this velvety, herbaceous liqueur.
I highly suggest you find a bottle to add to your bar. Though not available everywhere yet, Vermouth Routin Original Rouge is growing in distribution across the United States and can be found in 22 states (you can see where here). Your classic cocktails will thank you.
Allow me to close by reminding you all that Vermouth is a fortified wine and does indeed go bad. Once you open a Vermouth, be sure to store in the fridge for a longer shelf life. Generally you can push it to a few months (don’t @ me - I’m a conservationist). Always be sure to smell and taste a Vermouth that has been opened as it can turn to vinegar (just as that bottle of Malbec you opened last weekend likely won’t be too tasty this weekend - but more importantly why aren’t you finishing your bottle of wine?).
My mother learned this the hard when we went clearing out her old liquor cabinet. She had half a dozen open bottles of Martini & Rossi stashed in the back of the cabinet from - wait for it - 1998! Sadly, once-quaffed pre-Millenium Vermouth is not a dusty collector’s item and should, rather, be promptly poured down the drain or served to your enemies. Either way, it’s better off not taking up valuable real estate on your bar.
Disclaimer: Vermouth Routin's distributor provided Bourbon & Banter with a sample of their product for this review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.
Born and raised in the Bluegrass, Erin Petrey has always held an affinity for her home state’s signature spirit: Bourbon. Throughout her world travels (36 countries and counting!), Erin delights in spreading the gospel of Bourbon across the globe, from Spain to Korea and even here at home in the Nation’s Capital, where she also serves President of the Kentucky Society of Washington. She loves helping people find their next favorite bourbon or cocktail. Though bourbon is her first love, gin comes in a close second. Her favorite cocktails are the Black Manhattan, Gin Gimlet, and Aviation. If you see her, be sure how to ask her how to make the perfect Old Fashioned.
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