Spirit Watch: Imbue

This bittersweet fortified wine from Oregon might just improve your opinion of vermouth.

September 20, 2012


To the uninitiated, vermouth is a mystery—a strange European liquid that magically takes the edge off a martini. But Imbue’s bittersweet vermouth, released in 2010, is fortified wine in Oregon’s image: a sip-worthy combination of Willamette Valley pinot gris, Clear Creek Distillery brandy, and botanicals like clove, elderflower, sage leaf, and chamomile. Imbue’s follow-up arrived in July: Petal & Thorn, a brighter, sweeter version aged with cinnamon bark, sugar beets, and orange peel. With a spicy, herbal sweetness followed by a tart punch, it’s the perfect autumn aperitif over ice. Or try an “Inverted Martini”: 2 ounces Imbue mixed with 1 ounce gin or vodka, served over ice with an orange twist.

Find Imbue at local liquor stores and wine sellers for $24–27. Visit for more information.

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