Vermouth, or vermut, as the locals call it, has become a whole new guilty pleasure of mine since moving to Barcelona. No longer the drink of grannies, in my mind, I look forward to a Sunday serving of this tipple.
Originally sipped from noon, after Sunday mass, whetting the appetite for the large family lunch, it is seen as a great way to bring people together before meals. The tradition for vermut, accompanied by a little tapas to nibble on, has been around for a very long time in the area, however there’s been a real rise in popularity over recent years.
If you are visiting the city make sure to find a couple of hours with which to fer el vermut (do the vermouth) yourself.
Served in quite a few different ways, if you want to make sure you don’t come across as a complete tourist (guiri), here are my tips…
- Usually served over ice with a slice of orange and an olive or two. If you’re a purist then you can decline the ice…or if you prefer something a little softer you can opt for a spritz of seltzer from a siphon.
- House vermouth, vermut casero, is usually the best so always ask for that first. Otherwise ask for something locally produced.
- NEVER ask for a Martini vermouth, unless you’re visiting Italy of course.
- Although originally reserved for Sundays, and some locals still believe it still has a very defined time slot, you can of course try vermut whenever you like. However, if you don’t want to be seen as a total tourist, I’d suggest you don’t waltz up to one of the trendy coctelerías on a Saturday night and ask for one.
I prefer the old school local places rather than the commercial trendy joints, so if you’d rather experience a bit of culture here are some of my favourite Vermuterias for you to try…
Situated in the bustling Barceloneta since 1955, this was the first vermuteria that I visited after arriving as an expat and it’s still one of my favourites. The place is very small and always packed with locals, young and old.
The customer service is a little slow but that’s far outweighed by the amazing tapas and vermut. If you want to guarantee a table then you can call to reserve. There is another ‘sister’ restaurant right across the road that you can try too, serving the same delicious bites.
Where? Calle Ginebra, 12 | Ginebra 13 y Ginegra 7-9, 08003
Bodega Ca’l Pep
This place really takes you back to the days of local bodegas. In fact it’s practically vintage inside. Join the regulars and pull up a chair.
Where? Carrer de Verdi 141, 08012
A little pricey on the food front but worth a visit and a try of the tasting menu, paired with vermut. A little touristy and it can get busy so make a reservation if you’re set on dining here.
Where? Carrer Tamarit 91, 08015
An authentic, rustic charm inside. A great atmosphere in this little gem of a place. Lovely staff (in fact I’d say the owner is one of the attractions!) who offer a novelty/trusting concept where they leave the bottle on your table and when you’re done you tell them how many glasses you’ve poured.
Great value for money, tasty tapas and delicious vermut casero.
Where? Sant Carles, 15 | Bajos, 08003
Quimet i Quimet
Situated in the Monjuic area, this bar opened in Poble Sec in 1914 and is known as the most international vermut bar of Barcelona. Authentic tasty tapas but be prepared to stand and eat as the place is very small and gets very busy, but it’s worth it.
Locals tend to buy a bottle here and leave it at the bar because they prefer to drink here rather than at home. The only downside to the place is that it’s not open at the weekend!Poeta Cabanyes 25, 08004
If you’ve visited Barcelona and I’ve missed one of your favourite places I’d love to hear from you. Just leave your recommendations below!