Writer Jules Heckman Hughes is transported to Barcelona with El Bandarra al Fresco Vermouth.
Vermouth has had something of a revival of late and moved on from its old-fashioned status as a pre-lunch tipple to a far more fashionable post-work sundowner and refreshing bittersweet aperitif of choice; one that is crying out to be shared with friends long into the evening.
Once considered a spa tonic, it really does hit the feel-good factor.
Supplied in an attractive wooden crate and flip-top bottle, El Bandarra al Fresco epitomises summer socials and instantly brought back delightful memories of Barcelona; strolls along Las Ramblas ducking into alleys to take a table in one of the many buzzing restaurants that spill onto the street; the aromas of grilled gambas, blistering Padron peppers, hearty paellas and more.
Hailing from Catalunya, El Bandarra al Fresco is the brainchild of Virgili Bros (twin brothers Alex and Albert Virgili) made with Grenache grapes from the winery's estates in the Alt Penedès, and a well-balanced mix of natural botanicals.
On the nose, there are notes of vanilla and pink grapefruit plus a really subtle hint of floral.
Honeyed on the tongue it has a delightful bitter orange finish with a gentle touch of liquorice. With so many botanicals in the clever mix, others undoubtedly will pick up on different herbs, spices and flowers.
It is the perfect blend of citrus herbs, spices and bitter roots; one that is neither too sweet nor too bitter.
For a refreshing taste of summer in a glass simply mix one part El Bandarra al Fresco with two parts good quality tonic, pour over ice and serve with sliced orange.
If like my co-reviewer, your preference is for a refreshing tipple that is a little more tart on the tongue, a gentle squeeze of lime is all that you need to satisfy your taste buds.
In an increasingly disposable world, the fact that the bottle - and indeed packaging – can be upcycled and repurposed is pure genius. Furthermore, the bottle is an attractive and colourful reminder that the invigorating taste of Spain is never far away.
Best paired with: Fever Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water or Fever Tree Refreshingly Light Mediterranean Tonic
Where to buy: El Bandarra Al Fresco is available for purchase at masterofmalt.com Standard 1 Litre bottle (14 serves) RRP £20.95
[Items in this article may have been gifted to Chatting Food. No financial payment has been made to feature in this article, and entries to the feature are made independently by members of the Editorial Team. This page contains affiliate links and we may receive a small commission for purchases]