What’s your drink? Mine’s vermouth, and so I was delighted when I stumbled upon La Violeta, a bar that has more than 25 varieties of vermouth from all over Spain. Most bars in Madrid sell vermouth (vermut in Spanish). The Spanish version is cheaper than its famous branded Italian cousin, and many places sell it on tap now that its popularity is rising. After years of being thought of as an old man’s drink, people have recognised vermouth’s sophisticated superiority!
La Violeta was opened some 3 years ago by two passionate experts, who will give you tasters until you find a vermouth to suit you. I love the atmosphere; inside rock music is always playing, and the super-friendly owners always seem to be having a great time. There is a good-sized terraza, which is where it’s at in the summer here in Madrid. I have become an enthusiastic regular.
Enjoy your vermut like a true Madrileño, with ice, a slice of orange and a squirt of “sifón” (soda water), accompanied by a “gilda” or “bandarilla”, which are little tapas featuring anchovies, olives, and pickled chilis, onions or gherkins speared onto a stick. If you want something more substantial, they make delicious “tostas” topped with things like cheese, smoked salmon or anchovies.
Just thinking about going there takes me to a happy place; the aperitivo hour means the weekend, with drinks and nibbles with friends followed by a long lunch. No one does leisure like the Spanish!