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Explosive aromas & harmonious balance - ver in an interview about Vermouth

by Anastasia Hartleib
Explosive Aromen & harmonische Balance - ver im Interview über Vermouth

Vermouth is probably one of the most underrated spirits of all. Hardly any other drink is as versatile as the fortified wine - and also offers such a wide range of flavors. Vermouth is a fundamental ingredient in countless classic cocktails, and is just as popular neat as in a long drink. No matter what time of day.

So it's no wonder that Tobias Heitzer and Konstantin Nobbe are fully committed to this all-rounder. With ver, the two friends have created a central point of contact where Vermouth fans and anyone interested can get their money's worth. In this interview, Tobias explains how this came about - and what makes Vermouth so special for them.

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Honest & Rare: Why don't you briefly introduce yourselves?

Tobias Heitzer: We are Konstatin and Tobias - best friends since first grade and big vermouth fans for years. We have very different backgrounds. Konstantin studied beverage technology and life science and now works in finance at a start-up for emission-free e-mobility. I'm a communications expert at a large tech company and a junior sommelier.

Why did you end up with Vermouth of all things? What fascinates you about this drink?

We've known and drunk vermouth for a long time. We used to drink vermouth when we were teenagers, but we didn't realize it at the time. Later, we kept finding it in our favorite drinks and on a vacation in Spain we rediscovered it pure - and finally lost our hearts to vermouth.

It is simply perfect for aperitifs but also a great drink during the day when the sun is shining on your face. For us, vermouth is more than just a drink to enjoy as an aperitif - vermouth stands for explosive flavors, the balance of bitter and sweet. It's exactly what a sunny Saturday needs to make it even better. And vermouth is also incredibly varied: different countries, different styles, from extra dry to sweet, red, white, rosé.

Vermouth geht immer und zu jedem Anlass
Vermouth always works and for every occasion

How did your idea for a vermouth store come about?

During our vacation in Spain. We were sitting in the Plaza del Sol in Barcelona on a sunny afternoon, playing chess, eating tapas and drinking vast quantities of vermouth. In short, we were simply having a great time. It was there that we realized that we wanted to experience this feeling more often in our lives - and what's more, that we wanted to share it with everyone.

Back home, we did some research on vermouth in Germany and realized that there is no central platform for vermouth, we only found it occasionally in other stores. We found almost no offers at all, especially from countries such as Spain and Italy. This meant that we always had to order vermouth directly from these countries - a huge effort and quite expensive. With ver, we now want to close this gap. We offer vermouth from different European countries and want to impart knowledge on the subject - how vermouth is produced, how it can be used and drunk, etc.

Speaking of knowledge: In beverage terms, vermouth is a fortified wine. What does that actually mean?

Fortified means that high-proof alcohol is added to the base wine. This is also known from sherry production, for example. The fortification process gives the vermouth a higher alcohol content and therefore makes it keep longer than wine. However, the alcohol content is still comparatively low and one of the reasons why vermouth is so perfect for aperitifs.

And what else goes into vermouth?

Vermouth basically consists of three components: Wine (at least 75% in the EU), the essence of macerated botanicals, i.e. botanicals infused in high-proof alcohol, such as herbs, barks, fruits, seeds. It must always contain a variety of the true wormwood herb, otherwise the drink is not a vermouth. Sugar is also added - usually caramel, but also simple white sugar or grape must.

"Our bottles offer both: good content and an attractive appearance."

What does a vermouth have to be able to do to end up in your range?

First of all, of course, it has to convince us, i.e. it has to be of high quality and impress us with its taste. And admittedly: We also like an appealing design. Fortunately, all our bottles can serve both, i.e. good content and a beautiful look.

We are currently trying to gradually offer a wider range of products so that we can cover different tastes and areas of application. It is also important to us to be able to offer different varieties from different countries. After all, every country and every region has its own characteristics and therefore produces different styles of vermouth. This starts with wine production and continues with the selection of botanicals that ultimately end up in the vermouth.

Tobias Heitzer gründete zusammen mit seinem besten Freund Konstantin Nobbe ver als eine zentrale Anlaufstelle für Vermouth
Together with his best friend Konstantin Nobbe, Tobias Heitzer founded ver as a central point of contact for vermouth

Understand. Are there any other special features that you pay attention to - for example in the production or the ingredients?

We are always happy when botanicals are used that we have to google ourselves. But that's not a direct selection criterion.

What can you actually do with vermouth?

Vermouth is a real all-rounder: pure, on ice, with soda, as a Vermouth Tonic, Vermouth Spritz, in a Negroni, Americano, Negroni Sbagliato, Classic Martini, Manhattan and, and, and ... in the end, the only limit - if any - is your imagination.

That's what we like so much about it: vermouth simply never gets boring. And it's also available in red, white and rosé. You can make the same drink with the three different varieties - and it will always taste different.

And how do you prefer to drink your vermouth?

We prefer to treat ourselves to a red Spanish Vermouth on the rocks, with an orange peel and an olive. If necessary, we also infuse it with a little soda water.

"For beginners, we recommend vermouth straight or on the rocks"

Which drink do you recommend to newcomers who want to get a taste for it?

We also recommend that beginners try vermouth neat/on the rocks. This gives you a good feel for the drink. If it's too intense, add tonic water and ice or enjoy it as a Vermouth Spritz.

Finally, we'll ask you a few quick questions to help you decide. Ready?


Die Vermouth Trinkempfehlung der beiden: Einen spanischen roten Vermouth auf Eis, mit einer Orangenscheibe und Olive. Prost!
Their Vermouth drinking recommendation: A Spanish red Vermouth on ice, with a slice of orange and olive. Cheers!

Vermouth: more of a wine or more of a spirit?

Vermouth is the beautiful world in between! But we see it more on the wine side. Not only because of its low alcohol content, but also because of its taste.

What's the right word: vermouth or vermouth?

There is no right or wrong: it all depends on which country you are in. Wermut is the German spelling, Vermut or Vermú the Spanish. Vermouth is probably the most international (French, English). We have clearly borrowed our name from the Spanish spelling, but actually always speak of vermouth.

Your favorite: red, white or rosé?

It depends on the situation, but we both lean towards the red, Spanish style.

Where does the better vermouth come from: Spain, Italy or Germany?

That's absolutely a matter of taste. In all countries, there are traditional producers as well as young and wild ones who are a little more experimental. In Germany and Austria in particular, however, we are seeing more and more exciting new vermouths, which of course makes us very happy. We particularly like it when people try out local grape varieties such as Riesling or Pinot Noir.

The best after-work drink: Negroni, Manhattan or Martini?

Of the three, probably Negroni. Although we almost prefer an Americano to start with.

Thank you very much for the interview!

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About the autor:

Anastasia Hartleib

Anastasia Hartleib

Katalog & Marketing Managerin

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