"The Napa Valley is Disneyland for alcoholics." -Bill Maher
Grapefruits are a wonderful natural accident. Researchers believe the fruit originated in Barbados where both pomelos and sweet oranges grew and accidentally cross-pollinated. The sweet and bitter nature brings a brightness few foods can. When I discovered a vermouth that featured grapefruit, I knew it would likely end up on the site.
Mommenpop Vin D’Pampe, also sold under the label Mommenpop Ruby Grapefruit, harnesses the wonders of the grapefruit and combines it with the magic of vermouth. The Mommenpop label now produces not only a grapefruit vermouth, but two featuring Seville oranges and blood oranges. The master winemaker Samantha Sheehan, who has made wine under several labels came up with her line of vermouths to provide a new aperitif alternative. For the grapefruit variation, Pinot Noir wine serves as the base, and the spirit is further fortified with a brandy made from Pinot Noir as well.
Mommenpop bursts with freshness both on the nose and in its flavor. The aroma brings on hints of cinnamon. The vermouth has a wonderful flavor. On the forefront of the tongue is a sweetness that immediately refreshes the palate. Subsequently, the bitterness of the grapefruit provides a pleasant finish to the sip without overwhelming.
This vermouth could provide an interesting twist on a number of classic cocktails that call for sweet vermouth. It would also work well splitting the base of sour cocktails. I believe it would add something extra to most your citrus heavy cocktails.
THIRST AND HUNGER
Twist on a Classic: Boulevardier
I love Boulevardiers more than negronis. This twist on a classic offers two new additions. First, I featured the Mommenpop grapefruit vermouth and increased the amount compared to the traditional amount of vermouth. The grapefruit works wonderfully with the bitterness of the Campari. To incorporate one final spin, I added a dash of brown butter tincture. This added a nutty depth.
For the drink:
-1 1/4 oz Mommenpop D’Pampe Vermouth
-1 1/4 oz bourbon/whisky (Barrell Dovetail)
-1 oz Campari
-1 dash brown butter tincture
Combine the drink ingredients in a cocktail mixer. Add ice until it’s above the liquid. Stir for 30 seconds. Pour into a glass using a Hawthorne strainer. Express a grapefruit peel over the drink.
Something Original: A Grapefruit Story
I cannot get enough grapefruit. It’s my favorite citrus and I wanted to feature it even more than just using the grapefruit vermouth. Thus, I added white and ruby grapefruit juice to overload the grapefruit senses.
For the drink
-1 oz gin (Xoriguer)
-1 oz grapefruit vermouth (Mommenpop D'Pampe)
-3/4 oz fresh ruby grapefruit juice
-3/4 oz fresh white grapefruit juice
-1/2 oz pistachio orgeat
- 1 mint sprig
-Hickory wood chips
Add the wood chips to a fire safe container. Ignite with a kitchen blowtorch. When they ignite turn your glass upside down over the container and allow the smoke to fill the glass. Add the mint leaves to the cocktail shaker with the vermouth and muddle for 10 seconds. Combine the remaining ingredients in the cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake for 10 seconds. Flip the glass back over, add your ice cube, pour the drink through a Hawthorne and mesh strainer. Garnish.
Eat Your Spirit: Grapefruit Bars
Lemon bars were my favorite dessert for a good part of my childhood. Until I tried to figure out how I’d use Mommenpop D’Pampe in food, I had never heard of grapefruit bars. That’s 33 years too long. I had to cut myself off from eating the whole tray each time I ate one!
For the Crust:
-1 1/4 cup gluten free flour (you can use all purpose flour but the gluten free flour makes the crust closer to shortbread)
-1/3 cup brown sugar
-1/8 tsp ground allspice
-1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/8 tsp ground ginger
-1/8 tsp ground cardamom
-1/8 tsp salt
-8 tablespoons melted butter
For the Grapefruit Filling:
-3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
-1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
-2 1/2 tsp ruby grapefruit zest
-2/3 cup fresh ruby grapefruit juice
-2 tsp lime zest
-1 tbsp fresh lime juice
-1/8 tsp salt
-3 drops pink or red food coloring (optional)
-2 tbsp Mommenpop D'Pampe
-Turn your oven on to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
-Whisk together the dry ingredients for the crust.
-Mix in the melted butter. Add to an 8X8 pan and press into an even layer.
-Bake for 30 minutes. With about 15 minutes left begin the grapefruit filling.
-Add all of the filling ingredients to a medium sauce pan and stir together with a wooden spoon over medium heat.
-Stir frequently and heat until the mixture reaches 165 degrees and thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the vermouth.
-Pour the mixture into a bowl through a mesh strainer.
-When the pre-bake of the base is done, pour the filling over crust.
-Bake for 10 minutes or until the grapefruit filling sets and has a slight wobble.
-Allow to cool and store in the fridge.
As many people likely claim, Napa is where I fell in love with wine. The terroir, the sun, the libations would convert anyone into an oenophile. I enjoyed wine prior to my first visit in 2014, but Napa changed me. Afterwards, visiting wineries became one of my favorite activities.
While Napa Valley gained international prominence with the Judgement of Paris in 1976, the origin of its wine history is much longer. Adventurous wine makers first planted grapes in 1839, and the first commercial winery opened in 1861. The focus on wine production boomed after the 1970s and wine production became the primary value crop of the region. By 2020, the value of Napa’s agricultural bounty totaled over one-billion dollars, with wine-making grapes totaling ninety-nine percent of the value. Hopefully, the amount of wine produced continues to grow.
When you visit Napa you can head to the Mommenpop tasting room. While there are many amazing places to visit in in the valley, this is a must. Their vermouth offers something different than the usual wine tasting. Make this vermouth producer a highlight of your visit, and if you aren't in Napa pick up a bottle immediately.