The first step in making our Vermouth, is picking the botanicals. Most of these are picked by hand in Pembrokeshire, by our head distiller and the rest of the team at the distillery. However we do use Cafe Mor/Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company for much of our seaweed. A brilliant business that share much our ethos about sustainably using wild ingredients.
Once picked, the botanicals are then carefully picked over and processed.
Each botanical is individually infused in spirit. Each one needs a different percentage of alcohol to release the best flavours. Some 30% and others up to 65%. These are left for anything between an afternoon and six weeks. Working out this balance can be very time consuming. We did 57 tests just in the seaweed family alone!
Depending on the ingredient, these are either blended straight into the Vermouth, or they are distilled.
Initially we used a traditional pot still to distil. However we found that many of the volatile aromas were being lost. A normal still heats up the spirit to 80C, the boiling point of ethanol. It’s this heating that was destroying much of the flavour we wanted to harness.
It’s the same concept as cooking with herbs. Imagine you’re roasting in a hot oven. Herbs like rosemary and sage are robust enough to handle the heat. However if you were to throw in mint and parsley, they would quickly lose much of their impact as the heat breaks them down.
By using a rotary evaporator, we can cold distill our botanicals under vacuum. This reduces the pressure in the system so ethanol boils at room temperature, protecting the smells and tastes we want.
Everything is then slowly blended together with our wine to get the exact flavour profile.
We do all our bottling ourselves so we have complete control.
We’re very happy with our finished product. We’ve tried to make a product that is true to the characteristics of a Vermouth but with our own unique flavour profile. By using such interesting ingredients I feel we’ve created a truly special Vermouth. We hope you agree!