No, vermina isn’t something that Pizza Rat would pair with his slice on the subway. At Moruno, a new restaurant from chef Chris Feldmeier and fellow Mozza veteran David Rosoff in The Original Farmers Market, the duo is dispensing Spanish and north African flavors. That extends to the beverage program, where upstairs Bar Vermut specializes in vermouth, which is the spirit of choice in Spain. Better yet, they’re featuring an exclusive Southern California vermouth collaboration with Palmina winemaker Steve Clifton.
Vermina Vermouth on Tap ($9) is available by the glass. According to my server, the white version tastes like Meyer lemon and lavender, with red imparting notes like rosemary and blood orange. I opted for white, which arrived on the rocks, garnished with three skewered green olives, pits and all, plus an orange slice.
Most of my glass was gone by the time food arrived, but I appreciated how the bright vermina contrasted with rich roasted butternut squash buried in an avalanche of cashews and dukkah.
I was glad to learn Moruno is sourcing vermina from Palmina in crushable five-gallon kegs, which don’t need to be returned to the winery and are totally biodegradable. That eco-boost reduces the carbon footprint and makes me feel even better about drinking vermina.