Torino, back in the eighteenth century was a busy throving cosmopolitan city. Business was booming, and they had a vibrant cafe-culture.The old alchemical traditions of blending herbs, distilling, and sweetening wine were still broadly popular. But it was only when a local entrepreneur named Signor Carpano gave his grandmother’s recipe for medicinal wormwood infusion the clever brand name, Punt e Mes or “point & a half” in reference to the booming Stock Market of the time, that the first commercial Vermouth was broadly marketed.
A century later, during the period of the California gold rush, a fortunate miner traveling between San Francisco and Martinez California ordered champagne to celebrate a strike. According to local lore, when the creative bartender poured the Miner the only booze on hand, Gin and French Vermouth, as a substitute, …the first Martini was born.
Despite the international appeal of the drink, the true quality of a Martini’s most subtle ingredient, Vermouth, remained largely overlooked by most Americans until quite recently. In fact it has only been a couple of decades now since California’s Andy Quady gave spiritual birth so to speak to his own world-class Vermouth.
Vya is his delightful botanical infusion of distilled wine. This vermouth is so subtle that it may actually be better suited to mix with top-notch Vodka than Gin. Quady Vermouth comes in two varieties: one dry with hints of delicate orange peel, ginger and chamomile, and the other sweet, with notes of tangerine, clove, and vanilla, followed by a pleasant bitter finish.