Text & Photographs: Claire Lessiau & Marcella van Alphen
Time for the traditional vermouth!
The hour of Vermouth has arrived in the sunlit streets of Madrid. Madrileños enter the many bars scattered all over the city for their favourite drink. If vermouth is easy to find in the Spanish capital, it is not common to find such a variety and quality as at La Hora del Vermut where not only the finest vermouths are selected but also where tapas are crafted for the best possible pairing.
The recipe seems simple: a white wine is infused with herbs (including absinth) and then fortified (often with brandy) to raise the alcohol content; and yet it gives range to a wide variety of interpretation – and clearly, there is way more to Vermouth than Martini! Whether trying one on tap, or one of the 80 different references from Spain served at La Hora Del Vermut, it seems that the legend is true: Vermouth is said to have been invented by a doctor in order to raise the appetite of patients.
Some of the more complex vermouths are elaborated with high quality Rioja wines for instance. The pairing with the house tapas is excellent: the bold combination of quail eggs, olives, peppers, and anchovies on a slice of bread and a hint of vinegar; the difficult to pair artichoke hearts; the elegant union of edamame beans with razor shells…
Come in for a vermouth and let yourself be guided to explore its rich palette!
El tinto de verano – or the alternative to the touristy sangria!
How to spot a tourist in Madrid? Look for the one holding a glass of sangria!
The local favourite here in the summer is the summery red wine: half red wine, half soft drink, served cold with a slice of lemon. Easy to make, dangerously refreshing, and even easier to drink! Sit at a terrace in the sun, and order a “tinto de verano” and you will feel like a Madrileño!
Spice up your caña!
Another best-seller especially on a warm day is the caña, or a glass of tap beer. At Fábrica Maravillas in the vibrant Malasaña area, your 20 centilitre glass won’t be filled with Mahou or one of another industrial beer you can find all over Spain. Here, every beer is crafted right behind the bar and with only small batches, the variety to choose from changes often. The passion of the family staff is communicative. Stop by and mix with the crowd of locals reflecting the vibes of Malasaña, and enjoy “una caña”!
- The places listed above are shown on the interactive map below. Here are the specific addresses:
- Don’t be fooled by the colour of your vermouth. Most vermouths are red from the caramelised sugars but are still based on white wine. White vermouth does not contain caramelised sugars and therefore does not change collour!
- Check out this interactive map for the specific details to help you plan your trip and more articles and photos (zoom out) about the area! Here is a short tutorial to download it.
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