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Vermouth: what Ancient Greek doctors prescribed

Infusing wine with herbs is a long-standing pharmaceutical, medical tradition. However, that doesn’t mean one should enjoy it only while one’s sick. Ancient Greeks would infuse white wine with wormwood already around 400BC, as a remedy for stomach aches and to get rid of intestinal parasites. In fact, “wormwood” is the common name of the Artemisia Absinthium, the very same herb used as an ingredient in (evidently enough) absinthe, and the word we get “vermouth” from –“vermouth” being the French pronunciation of the German “Wermut.”

Actually, it was the German who kept producing this kind of fortified wine way up until the 16th century: vermouth only began to be produced in Italy in the late 18th century, and in the 19th in France.

But even if this kind of wine became popular in the 20th century as a key cocktail ingredient, Vermouth is way more than just something you add to a Negroni. Whether white and bitter or dark and sweet, Vermouth is not only an aperitif but a drink that can be enjoyed on its own on the rocks, with a splash of soda or sparkling water and an orange peel. In fact, it’s a perfectly good excuse for day drinking, à la Spain.

This summer, get yourself a bottle of Vermouth (we recommend the Catalan Yzaguirre, or the Italian Marteletti) and a bag of chips, and enjoy a classic Spanish vermúwhile you plan your next pilgrimage to the many trails Spain has to offer.

This post is also available in: Español Italiano

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