Published on March 13th, 2014 | by Dipsology0
Spirit Spotlight: Imbue Vermouth
A few months back we started a mini-series highlighting various vermouths, and explaining what the heck vermouth is anyway. Somewhat belatedly, here is the next installment of that series, this time introducing an awesome product from Portland, OR.
Imbue hails from Portland and has quickly become one of my favorite products to keep in stock at home at all times. They offer two uniquely American options: Bittersweet Vermouth and Petal & Thorn aperitif wine, both of which I discovered at Tales of the Cocktail.
Imbue’s Bittersweet Vermouth defies traditional vermouth categories, with stronger flavors and more body than a typical dry, but lighter & brighter than a sweet. It is, as the name suggest, both bitter and sweet. (For more information on classic dry & sweet vermouth, check out our Intro to Vermouth). The color is deep straw with hints of green and gold, the nose is herbal with elderflower & orange notes, and pear comes through on the palate. The sweet and bitter flavors are well balanced, so if you dig really strong amaros & black coffee, or if you have no idea what amaro is and take your coffee with milk & sugar, we think you’ll dig it. The base is Oregon Pinot Gris (a fairly neutral white wine), it’s fortified with Oregon Pinot Gris-distilled brandy, and flavored with nine (secret) Oregon botanicals.
I usually sip on this by itself on the rocks as a before-dinner aperitif. For something lighter, add soda and a citrus twist. If you feel like getting fancy with it, check out the suggested recipes on the Imbue website, which include options like the Inverted Martini (vermouth with gin or vodka) and the Jamaican Vacation (vermouth, orange juice, ginger beer & soda).
Imbue calls Petal & Thorn an “aperitif wine” rather than a vermouth. The line between aperitif wine and vermouth is a blurry one, and not something we’re going to get too pedantic about here. (For more info on both, check out our Intro to Vermouth.) Other examples of aperitif wine include Cocchi Americano, Lillet and Dubonnet.
The name Petal & Thorn is inspired by the duality of the product: on the one hand, floral, delicate and slightly sweet (the petal), on the other big, bitter, and herbal (the thorn). It smells and tastes of chamomile, orange peel and cinnamon, with a more assertive bitterness than the Bittersweet Vermouth. The pink color comes from cinnamon as well as organic Oregon-grown beets. It can be enjoyed on its own, or in a few suggested cocktails.
Where to find it:
Photos courtesy of Imbue
Adrienne is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Dipsology. When she’s not drinking, sleeping & breathing cocktails, she can probably be found in Napa, drinking wine instead. You can read about her non-cocktail adventures on her blog “à la gourmande” and follow her @alstillman.