How to make Ancient Roman Vermouth – 2000 year old recipe.

Maybe you ate a bit too much over Thanksgiving, so here is how we made Ancient Roman Vermouth, from a 2000 year old recipe recorded by Apicius in De Re Coquinaria, guaranteed to solve any over eating woes.

This is the story about how one night my best friend Peter and I decided to make this ancient after dinner drink to impress our Spanish friend Matias, who loves a good Vermouth. To do it right we had the recipe translated from the original Latin to English, then spoke with sommeliers and anthropologists to find out what type of wine and herbs they might have been using that we could use today. Finally the only thing left was to put it all together and hopefully not go blind in the process.

It was great fun bringing this dish back to life, so fun in fact, we ended up partnering with Atlas Obscura and the Food Bank of New York City to do an online event to raise some money for those impacted by the pandemic. A little something that made us feel good especially after the wicked hangover we both had.

The recipe is as follows:
1 Theban ounce of wormwood
6 scruples of mastich (Frankincense),
3 each of nard leaves, costmary and saffron
18 quarts of any kind of mild wine.

Here is how we interpreted it and put it together:
1. Place one teaspoon of Wormwood, 1/2 teaspoon of Frankincense. 1 tablespoon of Nard, Tulsi, and Saffron into a large mason jar and fill with 8 oz of high proof alcohol (higher the better, we used Everclear 190 proof).

2. Let sit for at least 3 days up to 1 week then strain the contents and return to the jar.

3. Take your bottle of wine (we used both Ionico Primitivo for red vermouth or Pinot Grigio for white) and add 1/2 a cup of your tincture (alternatively you can use 2 bottles of wine for the whole 8 oz)

4. Return mixture back to the bottle and cork. let sit for 1 day or up to 2 months.


You can add raw honey to the mixture if you want a sweeter wine, or use half port / half wine combination to dial in your perfect flavor profile. The more you let the mixture sit, the sweeter and more mellow the drink will become. We found after 1 month it was perfect on ice.

If you want to find all of these check out our friends at https://flowerpower.net/

And if you’re looking to up your grape game, call on our guys at https://www.brooklynwineexchange.com/

Don’t forget to check out www.italyinbocca.com where we go and discover rare and funky cookbooks and bring back interesting dishes from history.

Oh and consider liking and subscribing if you dig the content. Thanks!

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