Nothing requires more precision than making vermouth. The flaws are easily perceptible and almost impossible to fix because the way the botanicals interlace. If a ratio is wrong, the entire drink loses its balance. The most practiced fix is to add more sweetener to mask the imperfections.
Or you can just do it right the first time.
Welcome to the world of Armadillo Cake.
Armadillo Cake isn’t sweet. And frankly, it’s not that bitter either. We create it in small batches, precisely and deliberately, and we don’t leave room for mistakes. Instead of processed sugar we use a dark caramel, hand-spun from earthy Indian Muscovado by an artisan chocolatier.
We’ve got some herbs and barks traditionally used in red vermouths like cardamom and quassia, but Armadillo Cake features a blend of roots, spices, flowers, seeds and pods that you won’t find in any other product — think wild celery, Japanese shitake, and nigella. The bitters are in there too, but they don’t hang on your tongue or sully your drink — they just tap on through, adding a little flicker of tart in a mouthful of aromatics, herbs and spices. We let it all cold steep bit by bit, so the final product is intricate and special — we don’t make a lot, and we only keep what’s perfect.
So, what’s with the name?
Well, Atsby’s founder has a softspot for the hard-shelled — on a road trip through the Ozarks, believe it or not, in Arkansas wine country, he once found a dead armadillo on the side of the highway and decided to use it as a redneck hood ornament. It was a good plan for all of ten minutes, when the critter’s shell suddenly came off and its guts splattered all over our comrade’s windshield. The car didn’t crash, but it was a close one — and quite a gory surprise. To pay homage to that little guy, our founder not only had an armadillo-shaped wedding cake — red velvet inside, grey frosting outside — but also named Atsby red vermouth after him. Because sometimes your worst ideas create your best memories.