Pontica Red Vermouth

Factotum Fortified

A project, full of heart and soul

Hardly any other drink offers such a rich history as herbal wine, fortified and aromatised with barks, leaves and roots. Early records date back 1500 years B.C., followed by ancient Greek and Roman traditions, all the way up to Renaissance, Aperitivo and the Golden Age of cocktails, proving that vermouth and its relatives were savored over the centuries. Vienna and Hainburg seamlessly fit into this course of history, rich in local treasure and tradition, increased by international trade, wealth and indulgence.

A bridging of old and new, antique and modern, Vindobona and Carnuntum. These epicentres of culture were influenced by the Celts, Romans and nowadays a young breed of professionals and entrepreneurs, surrounded by age old grape-vines, herbs and a scent of nostalgia.

It’s in these beautiful surroundings that Peter Weintögl, technical engineer as well as bar owner extraordinaire, and the author of this column are hand crafting Pontica Red Vermouth. For a couple of years, Mr. Weintögl was pouring homemade vermouth into his Manhattans and Negronis, always looking for depth and complexity, a wine that could stand the powerful liquors it was paired with. Whilst still living and working in London, the author developed his very first recipe for a red aperitif wine.


"There’s no additional sugar or caramel, keeping the natural color, character and integrity of the product"


Every herb had to be understood, every bark was bitten into, every root was properly tasted… Old marmalade jars were filled with neutral spirit from the local supermarket (go and try sourcing neutral grain spirit in the UK – have fun!) and infused with each and every botanical the Notting Hill Spice Shop could supply. But that deep and fundamental understanding is inevitable when working with such complex and fragile ingredients.

“1+1 is never 2 in an herbal equation” I tend to say –and it is a fact: if your product is too heavy on vanilla notes, for example, it won’t help to simply leave some pods out. The overall balance would be changed dramatically. So it took the gentlemen another half year to finalise techniques and process engineerings, combining ideas, philosophies, time and passion. The result is complex, powerful and a rather characterful wine, showcasing the botanical and bitter foundations of what they think vermouth should be.


Soft matter

White and red wines are sourced locally, Carnuntum is a famous wine producing region after all. Proprietary brandy is used for fortification and all the roots, barks, leaves and herbs are of apothecary quality. There’s no additional sugar or caramel, keeping the natural color, character and integrity of the product. Only some –yet again– locally purchased grape juice is added as sweetening agent.


In the mix

Who am I to tell you what to do with a specific product – be creative and go fancy? Still, allow me to offer a few ideas and guidelines on how to use Pontica Red Vermouth. It’s fabulous in classic cocktails, be it a Hanky Panky, Manhattan, Negroni or even a very traditional Martini Cocktail, with the red stuff of course and a dash of Absinthe. Considering the pungent bitter note, you might take it easy with the Campari, when mixing the Count’s liquid trinity.

For a superbly delicious Manhattan, I’d suggest a 50:50 ratio and a robust rye whiskey. This beast makes for such a cracker of a Manhattan that you won’t even need bitters (well, let’s not argue about classics and the obligation to use a dash or two).

Our signature Hanky Panky is perfectly balanced by stirring down one part of Tanqueray No.Ten or Tanqueray Old Tom, one part of Pontica Red Vermouth and instead of ye olde Fernet Branca, I recommend a barspoon of Gölles Edelbitter (if you can find it wherever you are) or Jägermeister.

If that’s not enough, Ponticadrinks just released the follow up and “sister” product, wearing the same botanical dress, but with a healthy 70% ABV… You guessed it right, it’s Absinthe (makes sense with the Artemisia, right?). But that’s another story entirely!

Give it a try and look for a bottle of artisanal Pontica Red Vermouth close to you. You won’t be disappointed…


Reinhard Pohorec is a young enthusiastic professional in the world of fine drinks and food. At the age of 26 he has gained wide recognition as international expert on everything...


"Pontica Red Vermouth"

Factotum Fortified

Δημοσιεύτηκε στις 22/07/2015