Today we leave an interview with Maite Roso and Marti Kilpatrick, founders of The International Society of the Preservation and Enjoyment of Vermouth (Vermuteke) in San Sebastián.
What is the role of vermut in Spanish culture?
Vermouth has a long tradition in Spanish culture. It’s strongest in Madrid and Cataluña, where every Sunday families would head to the nearest bar after Mass to have a drink to pass the time until lunch. “Fer un vermut” is a Cataluñan phrase that means ‘to do a vermouth’ but is really used as a broad invitation to get a drink at midday. That should give you an idea of how ubiquitous the tradition is.
What prompted you to begin the International Society for the Preservation and Enjoyment of Vermut?
My friend Maite and I had been talking for months about doing an event around vermouth. Finally we said, okay, let’s just do it, and even if it’s not perfect, it will likely be fun. So as we were setting up the event, we thought, there should really be something bigger behind this. And I get so passionate about food, drink, and tradition. So we formed the society.
My journey in the world of vermouth started only about three years ago, a while after I moved to San Sebastián. I noticed old ladies were always drinking this incredibly colored beverage around 5 or 6pm. One day, I asked what it was and tried one. It was love at first sip.
Who can sign up? And how?
Our events are open to the public, all you have to do is come! If you attend two events, you get a membership card.
What are the goals of the society?
To have fun, try every vermouth under the sun, make thousands of vermouth converts and serve as an information hub for vermouth lovers everywhere. We are also experimenting with crafting some artisan vermouths, but that’s secret….shhhh. 😉
Any recommendations for foreignersr looking to enjoy vermut? Best way to drink it? Best accompaniments?
Yes! Any vermouth you can get your hands on BESIDES Martini will be so much more herbaceous, flavorful, and true to real vermouth. In fact, there are some great American artisan vermouths out there (Imbue, Atsby, Uncouth, etc). For the american palate, sweet vermouth served alone may be shocking at first. If so, you can cut it with a bit of gin to take some of the sweet and herby edge off. Serve with an orange slice, an olive, and some potato chips to snack on.
When are your next events?
We just had an incredible Vermuteke en Dabadaba and the next one will be the 15th of June. Anyone’s invited!