And, frankly, I was a little hesitant. My only experience with vermouth resulted in ruining a couple of perfectly good jiggers of gin in the making of a martini. Apparently, I’m not alone in this sentiment; the creator of Atsby, Adam Ford addressed this concern with the crowd as he welcomed us. Y’see, vermouth isn’t a liqueur; it’s a fortified wine (as Chris mentioned in his post about Atsby). But it is often stored as a liqueur, so it will go bad over time without proper storage like a wine. So, if you’ve had vermouth, you’ve probably had bad vermouth, and it’s time to try good vermouth.
And the good vermouth to try is Atsby. At the party, we first sampled both the Armadillo Cake (the sweet-ish one) and the Amberthorn (the drier one) on their own. And they were fantastic.
The Armadillo Cake is made with caramelized muscavado sugar, so it has a real depth. Plus, it’s made with a dizzying number of herbs and other aromatics to create a very complex scent and taste. I think it would be wonderful to serve warm instead of cider in the winter. The Amberthorn also smells amazing; there are a lot of different herbs and aromatics combined to smell, like, maybe the best chai you’ve ever smelled.
After we tasted them separately, we had them in cocktails created by Jeremiah Blake, the head bartender at Holland House. He really put some thought into these creations. I enjoyed every drink, but my favorite was the Missed Flight (pictured), which another partygoer aptly dubbed a great “porch-sitter.” The blackberry and lemon worked well with the Armadillo Cake to make a very refreshing cocktail.
As you can see from the high quality of the photo, we had several more to sample. Luckily, the blogger over at Stogies on the Rocks took better notes (and photos) and has all the recipes on his blog. Atsby is available locally at liquor and wine stores all over town (it’s distributed by Best Brands), so you can create these wonderful drinks at home.
But I definitely recommend heading over to Holland House and having one made by a pro first. Save your own bottles for drinking neat or up.