First Sip: Vya Vermouth
I finally found bottles of Vya, the excellent new California vermouth mixologist Jim Meehan name-checked in his cocktail trends roundup in our March issue (you can buy bottles here, if you live new New York). No two vermouths taste alike—in fact they can be wildly dissimilar—so I’ve always been perplexed that most bartenders group all “dry” and “sweet” (or “French” and “Italian”) vermouths together and offer only these generic tags in their recipes. The very best cocktail crafters are singling out specific vermouths for their recipes (here’s a great example, also from our March issue), and I hope this trend continues to grow.
Back to Vya: Created by dessert wine specialist Andy Quady, this incredibly floral sweet vermouth is made from orange Muscat and a Portuguese variety called Tinta Roriz; The “extra-dry” vermouth is made from orange Muscat and colombard (which you may know from its use in Cognac) and has a nutty, Amontillado sherry quality. I’m just getting started experimenting with these, but my favorite cocktail so far is also Quady’s, and it’s so simple you don’t need a recipe: Just mix equal parts sweet and extra-dry vermouth over ice and add an orange or lemon twist. It’s the best Franco-Italian mash-up since the 2006 World Cup final.