Spanish vermouth makes a perfect aperitif, with or without tapas

Just add snacks.
Just add snacks.
Image: Jenni Avins
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The wonderful tradition of the spritz—the Italian aperitif that mixes Prosecco, bitter liqueur, and soda into an effervescent, low-proof potion for happy hour magic has taken the world by storm in the last few summers.

This year—especially on brisk spring days, when it’s not quite time for fizzy drinks to be swigged poolside from a sweaty glass—I’m turning instead to Spain for my happy hour inspiration. Specifically, to a bodega in Barcelona, where I stopped in for a drink and some tapas at the hora del vermut on a visit a couple years ago. There, the red vermouth was served, as is the tradition, over ice with a splash of soda, and garnished with a wedge of orange and a big, salty Spanish olive.

Back home, I’ve found it slightly cozier than a spritz, and even simpler to make. If you’re similarly inspired, try one of the oldest brands of Spanish vermouth that’s widely available, Yzaguirre. Or hit up the shopkeep at your favorite local wine or liquor store for a recommendation of a light and herbaceous vermouth for sipping, Spanish-style.

Spanish-style vermouth

Ingredients for one drink:

5 ounces (give or take) Spanish red vermouth or vermút rojo

2-3 ice cubes

A splash of soda (optional)

Orange wedge

A green olive


Put a couple ice cubes in a small glass and cover them with red vermouth. Top with a splash of soda, if you like. Garnish with an orange wedge and an olive. Salud!