Vermouth Padró & Co. Rojo Clásico – 18% ABV
Star rating: 5/5
This intimidating tipple has wowed judges across the world a few times over, picking up an embarrassment of awards over the last three years, including a gold medal at the 2017 International Wine Awards.
The critical acclaim is easily explained when you look into the Padro process. The base wine for the bottle is made with a combination of grapes from the family’s own vines: Macabeo grapes, used to make rioja, are met by Xarello grapes that are used for cava.
The wine is left ‘for a winter’ before the secret sauce is added – their signature red vermouth herb blend.
Once the secret recipe is added to the wine, the mix is left to mature for nine to 12 months in ex-sherry barrels. These barrels are critical for the final taste of the vermouth, as they help emphasise the spiciness and fruitiness of the liquid.
Just what is in the secret herb mixture is a splendid mystery, but one can guess that cloves play a big part.
The medicinal bitterness of this vermouth owes a lot to the clove’s heavy character, a common ingredient in boozy remedies, for example the hot toddy.
It’s this bitterness that makes the Rojo Clasico a supremely rewarding drink, when coupled with the sweeter notes of citrus and cinnamon and served chilled, a sip at once warms and rejuvenates without falling into the trap of sickliness.
Aside from just being a great drink, the bottle is stunningly designed, even picking up the double gold medal for packaging at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2017, with judges wowed by the deep pink and extravagant gold design.
Available for a reasonable price, this vermouth really is a no brainer, sip away before late night high summer barbecues, then keep the bottle as an ornament.
Though very drinkable over ice, the suggested serve for the Rojo Clasico is the ‘royal devil’. A Spanish look at the bloody mary, the recipe is 6cl of Rojo Clasico, 10cl of tomato juice, 1cl of lemon juice, a dash each of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco, finishing with salt and pepper to taste.
The lemon juice serves to rein in the bitterness of the vermouth whilst the tabasco makes sure the lemon doesn’t go too far. A must try if you find yourself a bit delicate of a Sunday morning.
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This review was last updated in March 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.