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  • 93

    Caperitif South African Vermouth (750ml)

    Swartland, SOUTH AFRICA
    $54. 99 Bottle
    $659.88 Dozen
    ABV: 17.5%
    First made in the Cape at the turn of the previous century, for decades this unique aperitif inspired barmen all over the globe, even making its way into recipes in numerous famous cocktail books. And then, around 1910, the company that made it disappeared, and with it the product, as well as the recipe.

    Fast forward almost a century to when a Danish mixologist, Lars Lyndgaard met a Swartland winemaker and the 'ghost' concoction became first a possibility and then a reality. The Caperitif team are now experimenting with age-old recipes while simultaneously creating brand new ones. Generally, the ingredients lead with Chenin Blanc fortified with spirit, gently sweetened by the sugar of the grapes, bittered by Quinchona bark and flavoured with some 35 truly Cape ingredients such as fynbos, kalmoes and naartjies.

    When asked about the precise formula, family member and marketing director, Helena Sheridan explained, "... There is no recipe… Between Lars, Adi and Kyle they started playing around with a chenin blanc base and lots of interesting fynbos and citrus to come up with a product we all like. Let's just say it involved a lot of tastings. Every bottle will have a batch number (L1, L2… we are currently on L4 with L5 in the making) and every batch will inevitably taste different, depending on time of year the infusions are picked, what the dominant flavours are etc. Only once we were already on batch 3 did Lars come upon three bottles of the original stuff on auction in London. We can now get this tested and tasted to see how far we are off from the original."

    Tasting note: Bright brassy gold colour is also faintly cloudy. Issues gently bitter aromas of grapefruit, pear cider, crushed grapes, quinine and frail cinnamon warmth over background earthy/root-like notes. Breezy flavours of grape, citrus peel and quinine follow through to a pleasantly bitter, cleansing, thyme and grapefruit finish. Fades then rebounds with surprising persistence. Recommended in a Negroni or with (good) tonic water. 17.5% Alc./Vol.