Once upon a time, in a hip New York borough, a girl was mixing cocktails and wanted cheaper alternatives to some of her ingredients. One of these ingredients was a beverage you may know and love if you follow this blog....vermouth. So this young, third-generation Italian American set out to brew her own. And Uncouth Vermouth was born.
Thanks to a fortuitious digital link-up with an incredibly kind and fun NYC family, I was gifted three bottles of Uncouth this summer. I looked at them, I held them, and I thought 'I've got to do something special with these." And the more I read and researched, the more I realized I was right. So we called in the big guns at the International Society for the Preservation and Enjoyment of Vermut and crafted a cata for this first-time ever across-the-pond tasting of Uncouth.
(So, actually, that's me and Maite.)
Let me tell you what, for me, are the most important facts about this lauded artisan vermouth producer:
- free of added sugar: Bianca, the artisan behind the brand, harps on what is Uncouth's most unique and distinguishing point—the lack of added sugar. You see, what gives vermouth its signature body (and if you are a Martini brand drinker, syrupy-ness) is kind of a lot of sugar, often caramelized. Uncouth has none of that, relying instead on sweet wines as a base and the fortifying brandy.
- über local: herbs and additions that are sourced in a very artisan manner, grown by Bianca's mother, or harvested nearby. The wine comes from Red Hook Winery, with vines all over Long Island and surrounding areas.
- cheeky: branding is everything these days, and Uncouth's image does its uniqueness justice. One look and you know it's not your typical vermouth.
At the tasting, we presented three Uncouth flavors, wild raspberry, apple mint, and serrano chile lavender. They were quite shocking for these Spanish palates, mouths used to taking vermouth over ice as an aperitif (think sophisticated European version of having an apple-tini before dinner). They were distinctly dry, bitter, and stripped-down. In other words, like no vermouth on the planet.
The winning vermouth among our 10 participants? The Serrano Chile Lavender.