Mercat a la Planxa, Chicago, IL
Vermouth. This is not an uncommon subject for us at Mercat; we’ve dedicated a couple of blogs to it, we serve more than 10 different vermouths, and we make it in house [tire screech]. That’s right; we age, fortify and blend our own vermouth! In case you missed our scenic tour through the Spaniard’s liquor cabinet in previous blog posts let us rewind with a debriefing on this wonderful digestive!
Vermouth- originally designed as a digestive quaff, it’s morphed into a wonderful palate teaser or cleanser- depending on the drinker’s desires. Essentially, vermouth is white wine that has been deliciously altered by the addition of flora concentrates. Like a mad scientist, chef has gathered over 15 roots, herbs, seeds and spices and created concentrates of each by macerating them with a high-proof spirit for a lengthy time. Just one drop of black peppercorn spirit and your mouth burns. If you aren’t familiar with wormwood, you will never forget it after a touch with the tip of your tongue. Now, add any combination or measurements of these distilled spirits to your white wine and Ole! You have vermouth. Fun vermouth fact- Red vermouth comes from the pigment of raspberries, not, red wine… FYI.
The point is, this project is complete and Mercat is officially launching its in-house vermouth program! We are the only restaurant in Chicago offering this unique experience. So while others are at the corner Oktoberfest celebration (i.e. – every street corner), slow down with a taste of Spain and sip on vermouth (or a Spanish lager if the German party in you won’t be appeased without some fermented grains).