Saturday, March 24, 2018

☸️ Mt. Defiance redux: comparing vermouths

I recently described my visit to Mt. Defiance Cider Barn in Middleburg, Virginia. During that visit, I sampled a delicious apple-based vermouth and took home a bottle for experimentation. Here-in are the results of mixing two otherwise identical cocktails with differing vermouths. First, photos:

A Manhattan cocktail made with Mt. Defiance vermouthA Manhattan cocktail made with Vya sweet red vermouth

Notice the lighter shade of the cocktail on the left. It was made with Mt. Defiance vermouth. That apple-based vermouth itself bears a light tan shade and lends that lightness to the brown rye whiskey. The cocktail on the right, made with a lightly spicy-sweet red vermouth, is as dark as you’d expect of a Manhattan.

Mt. Defiance vermouth lends a flavor significantly different from traditional red vermouths. It brings a sweetness to the drink, taking the edge off the whiskey and leaving a light apple flavor on the palate well after the rye and bitters have run away. That surprised me.

Another pleasant surprise was Mt. Defiance’s light spiciness, similar to what’s found in the Vya red vermouth used in my standard version of the drink.

I’d peg the Mt. Defiance Manhattan right between a standard example of the cocktail and a Bensonhurst, a Manhattan variant that incorporates dry white vermouth in place of sweet red. Notably, the Bensonhurst also incorporates cherry liqueur for sweetness, a step unnecessary because of Mt. Defiance vermouth’s apple base.

This is the second specialty purchase I’ve been pleased to make from Mt. Defiance. Their absinthe is quite good served neat or watered through a sugar cube.

#MtDefiance #vermouth #Manhattan