Well, it only took a global pandemic and several shop rearranges but we’re happy to announce that our vermouth bar is back!! When the weather is blazing (hello 100º Portland!) nothing quenches the thirst quite like a vermouth spritz, and this simple drink embodies everything we love here at Wellspent. It’s simple to make but contains layers of flavor, and both stimulates the appetite and pairs perfectly with salty little bites like olives, cheese, salumi and tinned fish. Plus, its flexible format encourages experimentation (our view: basically anything can be spritzed) and allows anyone to find their perfect combination of bitter and bubble.
If you’re new to Wellspent Market and wondering why a tiny little corner shop has a vermouth bar, let us explain: waaaaaaaaay back in the day, when we were a mostly-wholesale business operating out of an anonymous commercial garage, local chefs would stop by the “warehouse” to pick up their orders and often brought a bottle of wine to share while we talked shop and geeked out over delicious new discoveries, and eventually we started keeping a small fridge stocked with wine and vermouth to share with customers (and, honestly, to drink ourselves).
When we moved into our current location 3 years ago, we sought to preserve this little bit of conviviality by installing a simple two-tap system at the checkout counter; one tap dispensed chilled soda water, and the other cold vermouth. Then the world shut down, and, alas, we had to mothball the in-store service of our beloved Wellspent Spritz; after all, it’s hard to drink through an N-95 mask. But the shop is back open, the taps are reinstalled, the vermouth is chilled, and our lovely new bar is ready for you.
In addition to the vermouth, we’ll always have an open bottle of wine or two to serve by the glass, and Erik, our sake buyer, will do the same with rice wines. This gives us an easy way to share the wines we’re excited about with you, and because our selection is small and changes frequently, there’ll always be something new on offer.
And in the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing a handful of our favorite spritz recipes right here in the newsletter. So if you haven’t been into the shop in a while, please come down and see us. There’s more stuff, more space, and (finally!) something to drink. Cheers!
Our house variation of a classic found throughout northern Spain, this simple spritz can be made with either sweet or blanc vermouth (blanc vermouth, less well known in the US, is citrus-driven and less sweet than sweet vermouth, but considerably sweeter than dry vermouth). We top ours with a simple lemon twist, but in Barcelona, the customary garnish is a slice of orange and green olives.
The traditional spritz formula calls for a bitter aperitif lengthened with sparkling wine and soda water; here, we swap the water for a bracingly tart Italian lemon soda to offset the light bitterness of Sirene, a modern hand-made aperitif from northern Italy. The result is a bright, citrusy, and endlessly refreshing aperitif perfect for these hot summer afternoons.
Bialy Bird just sent over their menu, and we are absolutely drooling with excitement! In anticipation of a BUSY Wellspent Breakfast Club this weekend, we’ve decided to offer a limited amount of bialys and schmears for pre-order. Your Vegan Bialy options are here, regular Bialy options here, and your Schmear options are here; get those orders in by Thursday 7/28 at 5pm! And if you’re not the pre-order type, fear not: there will be plenty of bialys (and bialy sandos!) on offer Saturday, along with coffee, coldbrew, juice, smoothies, and mimosas! See you on Saturday!!
Peach season is in full swing, and to get your hands on the superlative stone fruit offered by Baird Family Orchards please get your orders in by 5pm on Friday July 29th for pickup at Wellspent Market either Saturday or Sunday!