In Catalonia, the word Vermouth means much more than“an aromatized wine flavored with various botanicals”. In Catalonia, Vermut means “let’s gather some friends and go have an aperitif & appetizers before lunch”. Yes, “fer el Vermut” (Go for a Vermouth) was a popular habit among people after Sunday Mass, which has recently been revived in Barcelona by youngsters and hipsters and is now a common Sunday custom. Thanks to that revival, some vermouth traditional cellars have survived and new specialized bars and “vermuteries” have sprang.
The formula of Catalan Vermut has the following components: Vermouth (or beer, soda, juice,…) and some appetizers like olives (mandatory), anchovies, crisps, almonds and cockles. Well, this is the basic pack. From there, many other tapas or shellfish can be added. As for the Vermouth, forget Martini, the most internationally known brand. There are hundreds of local brands, cellars and varieties. In some bars or specialized wineries, they might pour the Vermouth directly from the barrel. It is usually served with an olive and a slice of lemon or orange and some people like to water it down with soda water.
Well, nowadays that Vermut has become such a trend, they might serve it many bars in town, but we recommend the traditional wineries in popular districts like Gràcia and Poble Sec. In Gràcia, you can find modern and traditional vermouth bars. This district, known for its young inhabitants and modern lifestyle, has enough variety of vermouth places to satisfy the whole neighbourhood. Among the most popular, La Vermuteria del Tano, La Vermu or Bar Bodega Quimet.
In Poble Sec, you’ll find one of the crown Jewels of Vermut tradition in Barcelona: Quimet & Quimet. It’s a small place with just a bar and no chairs, but all the products, food, beers and wines are of the best quality. All appetizers and tapas are delicious but if you want to enjoy them calmly, we recommend to be there as they open and don’t wait for rush hour. In Blai Street and surroundings (old Poble Sec) you’ll find many other Bodegas and cellars to enjoy vermouth.
When going for the Vermouth you’ll see that they will offer a special sauce to go with the food. This is Salsa Espinaler, a sauce that was invented to dress the cockles but which actually dresses the rest of the food. The origin of this sauce are in Vilassar de Mar, a sea town 20 minutes north from Barcelona by train. There you’ll find the Espinaler Bar, another popular and typical landmark of Catalan Vermut.
Well, now that you know what Vermouth means for us Catalans, you can blend in with locals and live the Vermouth experience, a very popular and very local tradition. Remember: Sunday + Midday + Barcelona = Vermut.