London was boiling last week.
It was wonderfully hot (as it should be during the Summer months) but, in all honesty, it was a bit much! 30°C is not the average temperature around here, so we were caught a bit off-guard!
However, I wouldn’t change a thing! I love London, and when it’s hot like that, I only love it a bit more. There’s a plethora of urban oasis spots all around the city; Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, Holland Park and the list goes on. It’s this distinctive summer urban feeling with a cosmopolitan air that manages to lift and energise you.
“How about a little Vermouth?” or “Ένα βερμουτάκι;” – a typical line from classic Greek movies from the 1960s and one that I was (awkwardly) trying to replicate as a child pretending to be a grownup! (I would fill a highball with EPSA lemonade and pretended to be at a gala…. No one is without a cringy childhood moment. )
So, finding out that the legendary Otto’s Vermouth has come to London and is distributed by my old employer, Amathus Drinks, couldn’t have come at a better timing!
This aperitif combines some of my most favorite things in the entire world: the Mediterranean, the sun, spices, citrus fruits and olives! How could I not have fallen in love at first sight?
The label reads:
“CRAFTED IN ATHENS
ENJOYED UNDER THE SUN”
Otto’s Athens Vermouth Birth:
The year is 1840 and the philhellene King Otto decides to move the Greek capital to the city of Athens. It is then when Ioannis Vouher is appointed by the King to create the original recipe for Athens’s first ever aperitif, just under the shadow of Acropolis in Plaka. The technique of infused wine dates back to the Ancient Greeks and Vouher selects good quality wine and a range of local herbs and fruits to create the capital’s new aperitif! The Athenians enjoy Otto’s Vermouth at cellar temperature and of course…under the Greek sun!
The years go by and Athens goes through a unique renaissance. The city of once just 8,000 residents switches on its lights and the Athenian nights of the glamorous 1960s attract the international Crème de la Crème and legends like Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, Omar Sharif, Jean Paul Belmondo and Steve McQueen enhance Athens’s new metropolitan allure. The local celebrities and high society enjoy their Vermouth in a highball glass with lots of soda over ice at the most fashionable urban spots like Fokionos Negri, Omonoia Square and of course Syntagma Square. A celebrity magnet, Zonar’s, a legendary place recently revived, was the spot to see and to be seen!
It’s 2017 and Athens’s gastronomic and bar scene has seen a multifaceted revival with the launches of modern tavernas, speakeasy bars and high quality restaurants. A new-bohemian wave of architects, musicians and artists get charmed by the capital’s new dynamics and attractions. One of the venues that has been constantly in the spotlight over the last few of years is The Clumsies, an all day bar in the heart of Athens listed as one of the Best 50 bars in the World (!!) is meant to mark the revival of Athens’s signature aperitif. Vassilis Kyritsis (Greek World Class Winner 2012) and Nikos Bakoulis (Greek World Class Winner 2011) worked in the same fashion they made The Clumsies a worldwide success back in 2012 and collaborated with a team of experienced distillers inspired by Ioannis Vouher’s legacy and finally brought Otto’s Athens Vermouth back to its birthplace. They identified the need of an authentic drink with strong history, transmitting a sense of place and portray Athens’s
Its gorgeous, vibrant crimson color comes from the high quality Agiorgitiko wine made in the mythical Peloponnese. Vassilis and Nikos preferred to tone down the bitterness, characteristic of mainly Italian Vermouths, and wanted to bring a Hellenic air to the identity of the drink. They chose rose petals to be the core of the nose and palate, a scent closely related to the Greek flora. The appetizing profile is spiced up with wormwood, angelica, oregano (no wonder why I love this drink), olive leaves (a beloved childhood memory), all sunbaked under the Mediterranean sun and finished with refreshing notes of citrus fruit and kumquat.
- Otto’s 70ml
- Tonic 100ml
- Orange peel
Method: add 70ml of Otto’s in a highball glass with ice and top up with tonic water. Garnish with a lemon or orange peel (alternatively serve with soda).
“Drink like a real Athenian“
You can find numerous recipes on their website, so check it out:
Tip 1: Visit Athens
Tip 2: Go to The Clumsies
Tip 3: Try Otto’s Athens Vermouth, the urban Mediterranean aperitif
Tip 4: Combine all of the above by joining the Athens Bar Show 2017 7th-8th November
Like Ott’s Athens Vermouth on Facebook for exciting recipes and events
UK: you can order it from Amathus Drinks
I am sure there are plenty of places you can get it from but these are the ones I found online. Please comment below where you got your stylish Otto’s Athens Vermouth bottle.