The Journal is a collection of articles and essays written and curated by Thomas W Coombs on a variety of topics that many of us love. From fashion to cocktails, travel to wine and some of the simple things in life in between.

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Issue 42; I Have a Problem

Hello everyone, my name is Thomas W Coombs and I have a problem, I am unable to stop buying sweet Vermouth.  You maybe sat there thinking that doesn’t seem like much of a problem, well tell that to my drinks cabinet.

As I squeezed my latest bottle of red liquid onto a shelf and saw that a bottle of Vodka was trying to get out I thought that something had to give and I really didn’t want it to be the shelf.  To look at the vast array I am currently in possession of you would be in the thought that I was writing a book on the subject, in which case this would be fine. “Have you tried the Vintage Rosso yet?”.  But I have no current ambitions to do such a thing.  This current unhealthy obsession is down to my internal journey in search of the perfect tasting Negroni, that one that if you were not married you would hitch yourself too or that makes you have an urge to make love to it, Bond style.

David Coggins wrote that “to get ahead we need to take advantage of all angles” and what doesn’t work in society as a whole does work with spirits.  I find that the Gin in a Negroni makes very subtle differences unless you have a light sweet vermouth, and Campari, is, well, Campari, the difference comes from the sweet end of the spectrum of taste, at least it does for me.  Finding this out after much thought and practical testing of Negroni drinking after buying my first ever non martini Rosso sweet vermouth.  I had unwittingly opened Pandora's Box.  I believe I am now on five and counting, not that I haven’t tried some vintages whilst visiting bars.  I have found a couple of favourites and love an English vermouth, mostly as they are moving into more spices and botanicals like a gin, it is a true learning curve and brings a freshness to the classic spirit.


I will of course continue to experiment but feel my obsession of buying every different one I see needs to be held back, if not for my sake then that of my poor shelf.