Barcelona 3/11/20

Vermutillos

Our last full day in Barcelona consisted of a food tour mainly around the Gracia neighborhood. Due to cancellations, Bridget and I were the only people on the tour, so the two of us and the guide had a splendid time walking around from place to place, sampling neighborhood speciality shops. This was the last stop, a little neihborhood bar called Bodega Ca’l Pep (there are several establishments in Barcelona with this name, so totally not confusing). They make their own vermouth, as a lot of local places do, and it was served to us with a bottle of club soda for us to mix as we liked. It has become one of our favorites, especially since we have found some good Spanish red vermouths available to us locally.

Candied fruits at La Llibertat Market

The food tour included a walk through the La Llibertat Market, which was actually one of two markets we visited while we were there. We skipped La Boqueria, which is the famous one that draws all the tourists, and went to Santa Caterina on our own (pictures from that visit forthcoming). We didn’t stop to eat in this market, just a walkthrough/photo op. The markets are utterly gorgeous , and you just want to eat everything. I think we did stop at one stall to buy some smoked paprika to bring home.

Cocktail 11/26/21

Rye Manhattan

Most Fridy evenings, I like to have a drink to end the week. What I have will vary quite a bit – a beer, a glass of wine, a glass of whiskey, or a mixed drink. I don’t get too ambitious with cocktails, I mostly stick to a few standards that can be made without having to have a lot of speciality items on hand. So, Manhattans, martinis, G&Ts, the occasional Negroni, and so on.

I typically use rye whiskey for a Manhattan, though I will sometimes make one with bourbon. My rye whiskey of choice is WhistlePig, which is distilled in Vermont. I normally buy the 10-year, which is not hard to find in the liquor stores around here, but this particular evening’s drink was made with the 12-year bottle that my wife gave me for my birthday.

Over Halloween weekend, we took a little mini-vacation to Vermont. We stopped in Queechee, just over the New Hampshire border near White River Junction to visit the Simon Pearce glass factory. The glassware is gorgeous, and is made right on location – you can walk downstairs from the shop into the glassworks and watch the glassblowers at work.

As we were pulling into the parking lot, we noticed a sign on the house next door that said “WhistlePig Tasting Room”. So, after we finished shopping in the glassware shop, we crossed over and found ourselves in a quiet set of rooms, sipping sample flights of various WhistlePig ryes. Rye is not quite as sweet as bourbon, and usually has a little spicyness from the higher proportion of rye grain in the mash bill. I’ve come to enjoy it just as much as bourbon as a straight pour on its own. With my wife’s blessing, of course, I splurged on a bottle of the 15-year. But I won’t be using that to make Manhattans.

In addition to the 12-year WhistlePig, this particular Manhattan has black Vermouth (though usually I use Dolin red), orange bitters, and a Luxardo cherry