Four must-visit vermuterías in Madrid, Barcelona and Seville.
Most people consider vermouth a mixer, but in Spain the herb-steeped fortified wine has become a main attraction, with watering holes devoted to the drink.
“Spaniards take the vermouth bar very seriously,” says Katie Button, an F&W Best New Chefs alum. During her trips back to Spain—she worked at El Bulli in 2009—Button has been drawn to the new-wave vermuterías, which serve elevated bar snacks alongside sweet red vermouths, dry whites and complex aged reservas.
“You throw yourself in the arms of the bartender, and you leave blown away,” she says. Button has brought the trend home, pairing vermouth with tinned fish at a 14-seat counter inside Cúrate in Asheville, North Carolina. Below, four standout vermuterías that inspired her.
Senyor Vermut : Provença, 85, Barcelona; +34 935 32 88 65
“This spot in Eixample not only has a great selection of vermouth—sweet, bitter and aged, plus a housemade one—but also hearty tapas like croquetas, bomba (fried potato fritter with meat) and cap i pota (rich pork stew traditionally made from the head and feet).”
Bodega de la Ardosa : Calle de Colón, 13, Madrid; +34 915 21 49 79
“This Madrid spot has been around for over 100 years and will probably be there for 100 more. Every inch of the space is filled with cans, bottles and knickknacks. Order chilled vermouth, a wedge of Spanish tortilla and a beer to wash it all down.”
La Vermu : Sant Domenec, 15, Barcelona; +34 931 71 80 87
“You can’t miss the splashy red doors of this new modern vermutería in the Gràcia area of Barcelona. La Vermu is really tiny but serves fantastic vermouth and classic tapas, like ensaladilla rusa (potato salad). Go there for the bustling scene.”
Bodega San Lorenzo : Juan Rabadán, 7, Sevilla; +34 955 186 592
“While the interior is a bit spare, this Sevilla vermutería is known for its solid tapas list and big barrels filled with different wines, including an herbaceous red vermouth—perfect for pairing with marinated mussels.”