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Barcino Serves Vermouth Like You’ve Never Tasted It

Make like the Catalonians and sip straight vermouth on the rocks.

For many Americans, vermouth isn’t a beverage so much as it is some old bottle that a home cook keeps on hand for deglazing the pan. Barcino, the recently opened Catalan-inspired Hayes Valley restaurant from the Absinthe Group, is on a mission to change that perception.

After all, in Spain’s Catalonia region, vermouth is just what you drink—straight-up over big ice cubes, garnished with an olive and an orange slice. Barcino is one of only a handful of places in San Francisco that encourage you to drink it exactly that way.

Collin Nicholas, the bar manager at Bellota, Barcino’s Spanish-themed sister establishment, has curated a collection of 13 different vermouths that range from citrusy dry whites to sweet, rich reds. The Yzaguirre Rojo ($12), which Barcino offers on tap, is an eminently smooth drink that’s sweet without being cloying, with pleasantly bitter grapefruity notes that become more pronounced as the ice starts to melt. The Spanish drink it all year round, Nicholas says. But few things are more refreshing than sipping a glass of vermouth on the rocks on a warm late-summer evening—all the better if you enjoy it with a plate of Barcino’s lamb meatballs or Catalan-style pan con tomate. 399 Grove St. (At Gough St.), 415-430-6590 

 

Originally published in the September issue of San Francisco 

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