Review: Little City Vermouth – Dry and Sweet
Artisan vermouth is on the rise, and this new brand out of New York (Finger Lakes Distilling is the brand’s bottling partner) offers a glimpse of what’s being done. Little City doesn’t offer a lot of information about its production — though check out the huge number of botanicals in each bottling.
Thoughts on both of the classic expressions — one dry, one sweet — follow. Batch information is not available.
Little City Dry Vermouth – Incorporates 38 botanicals. Fragrant, very floral, and slightly bitter on the nose at first blush. As you dig deeper aromatically, it reveals just how complex it is, with notes of sandalwood, jasmine, sea grass, and lemon peel — to name just a few of its elements. There’s so much going on here, and the palate doesn’t let up: Dry on the whole but again heavy on the flowers, alongside citrus peel, gentle spices, and a grassy note. Ultimately there’s a quinine edge to it the pulls the experience back into focus. Overall, the sweet/bitter dichotomy makes for an engaging straight sipper (and also a fine cocktail ingredient), but I find the finish to be a touch briny. 17.5% abv. A- / $23 (375ml)
Little City Sweet Vermouth – Incorporates a whopping 53 botanicals. Less successful than the dry, this has the distinct character of cherry-flavored cough syrup, filtered through notes of licorice, furniture polish, and charred/roasted vegetables. Sweet but saccharine, it just doesn’t show much balance and muddies up cocktails with its vegetal-sugar combo. 16.5% abv. B- / $23 (375ml)