Oregon’s Ransom Spirits
In France and Italy, folks take their vermouth very seriously. Here, perhaps not so much.
Thank goodness then for companies like Oregon’s Ransom Spirits, producers of high-quality Ransom Dry Vermouth ($14.99). They also make a really good Ransom Sweet Vermouth, but today the focus is on—
Essentially, vermouth is wine—fortified wine flavored with various botanicals. In addition to being a terrific aperitif all on its own, vermouth is a key component of cocktails such as Martinis, Manhattans, Negronis, Gibsons, and such.
In last week’s Sip column, I featured a recipe for a Classic Vermouth Cassis Cocktail and I recommended Ransom Dry Vermouth for that, but it’s also excellent for the aforementioned cocktails, as well as many others.
The botanicals infused into the Vermouth include wormwood, rosehip, scullcap, orange peel, chamomile, verbena, spearmint, star anise, cinnamon bark, archangel root, coriander, cardamom, fennel, burdock root, lemon peel, and vanilla bean. Quite complex!
According to Tad Seestedt, Proprietor of Ransom Spirits, “The production of Vermouth is the great bridge between our winemaking and distilling trades. Beginning in the winery with small lots of aromatic white grapes, we carefully ferment and blend wines of elegance and character, employing traditional techniques to maximize varietal expression, such as fermenting whites on the skins and employing carefully controlled oxidation of wine in barrel.”
“Taking another cue from classic European vermouth houses, our solera system allows us to maintain the consistency and complexity of this unique base wine blend across vintages. In the distillery, we alambically distill and barrel age brandy from our house-made base wine for fortification. Next, the Vermouth is infused with a proprietary blend of aromatic botanicals, divined through two years of test batches and blending trials. Sweetened ever so slightly and gently filtered before bottling, our Vermouth retains a traditional slight golden color. While ours is an original recipe with elements of whimsy, this Vermouth is fundamentally a classical formulation, with eponymous base notes of wormwood. It lends depth, complexity, and elegance to cocktails both classic and modern and is a worthy aperitif either neat or on ice.”
So the next time you reach for Vermouth, I recommend reaching for Ransom.
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.
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