The Vermouth Ambassador’s Guide To Modern Drinking – Review & Giveaway

A new book hit the desks of BarLifeUK last week, we read it, we really enjoyed it, we thought we’d tell you about it.

Samuel Bolton is not a man who is happy sitting back and letting the world pass him by. Last year in the middle of that pandemic thing he opened The Pineapple Club in Birmingham which I am reliably informed is a fantastic place and knowing Sam, and many of his team, I have no doubt the drinks are banging.

Whilst doing that he decided to finish off writing a book that he’d been working on for about 5 years and now it’s here, The Vermouth Ambassador’s Guide to Modern Drinking – A practical guide to the world of Vermouth and Aromatised Wine.

At BarLife Towers we’re big fans of vermouth and have been learning about it bit by bit over the years not least through Mark Ward’s yearly vermouth session at the Rookie Programme. As with all great drink’s books, I only realised how much I didn’t know as I started to read Sam’s tome.

It’s probably misleading to call it a tome. That tends to conjure images of huge, dusty, boring books which this definitely is not, but I also associate the word with scholarly books which make me feel smarter which this definitely is.

The book is split into three main sections with one dedicated to cocktails and another to producers. The first section is an in-depth guide to the vermouth category, as Sam puts it:

‘This book is a practical guide to help you understand and use vermouth in your bars and on your menus. I will guide you through Vermouth’s culture around the world, how to keep it, drink it, and mix it.’

Covering subjects such as terminology, classification, production, storing, the very useful Aromatised Wine Wheel and so much more, this section is sure to have you relooking at how you think about vermouth.

If the first section changes how you think about vermouth the second, full of recipes, will change how you use it. It moves away from classic drinks (a brief section on the classics looks more at the right vermouth to use) and focuses on Modern Drinks – short, tall, fizz, classic inspired and simple serves.

As well as creations from Sam, as you would expect, this section has drinks from bartenders across the UK and further afield. It is great to see so many superb bartenders from the less cocktail bar trendy towns and cities getting the recognition they richly deserve and far to often don’t receive. A nice touch sees many recipes accompanied by thoughts from the drink’s creator on their inspiration, reason for choosing ingredients, ingredient swap outs etc giving you a greater insight into the recipe.

The vermouth infusions section will undoubtably get your creative juices flowing and I envisage vac-pac bags of flavoured vermouths in bar fridges across the country in the coming months. Although when I head to The Pineapple Club it will be a Vermut Preperado (80ml Rojo Vermut, 3 dashes London Dry Gin and 3 dashes Campari) that I’ll be putting in my face.

Finally comes the Vermouth Index section, a deep dive into some of the best known, and best regarded vermouth producers from Italy, France, Spain and around the world. I, for one, am putting a trip to Bodagas Jaime right on my shortlist of places I must go and see as soon as the world opens up properly again.

The book is a fantastic buy for anyone wanting to improve their knowledge of the world of vermouth or looking for some new vermouth cocktail recipes to use and inspire. You can pick up a copy in either print or pdf format right now from The Pineapple Club website.

Sam is a generous man and has given us a copy of the book to give to one of you lucky lot, simply fill in the form below before midnight on 17th September and we will put you in the draw.