| Oldstead Vermouths | Part 3- Italian Style Bitters

19.12.19 | Uncategorised

By Seamus Hooley

 To create our own version of Italian style bitters, similar to Aperol or Campari, we decided to focus our attention to the fruiter and more citrusy flavours being grown in the garden at The Black Swan Oldstead. Through summer there was a huge abundance of rhubarb in the garden (which we made into schnapps) along with lemon verbena, tangerine marigold and foraged woodruff, so we believed we were in a good position to start experimenting.

Unlike the dry or sweet vermouths, there was no clear ingredient to use as a base. As a result, this meant the blending process for the ‘Campari’ was arguably the most difficult stage of any of our vermouth products.

We thought it best to attack the challenge in a couple of different ways. The first route to try was blending the sweeter elements then adding the alcoholic parts later. However, that wasn’t working! No matter what we tried, we couldn’t find a way to balance the flavours and bitter/sweet element to our liking.

The second route, however, brought more success. Thankfully! We reversed the process and blended the alcoholic infusions used in the dry/sweet vermouth along with the distillates we made last year with Cooper King Distillery. After finding a blend and flavour profile we were happy with, we used the woodruff syrup to effectively season the product, the same way a chef would use salt to season food.

The results are a product that is delicious to sip on its own over ice or as a great complex addition to our cocktails. It is currently being used in the Rhubarb Negroni at Roots York and the winter ‘Spritz’ inspired cocktail, the ‘Princess Peach’ at the Black Swan Oldstead.

Read Part 1 – our journey to make our Oldstead White Vermouth here

Read Part 2 – our journey to make our Oldstead Red Vermouth here