The Jerry Thomas Project is no ordinary producer. Its headquarters are mysteriously difficult to find; hidden behind a secret door, down a nondescript street near Piazza Navona in Rome, and accessible only with a parola d’ordine; a password, obtained from a fortnightly changing riddle. Yes – you’ve guessed it; the Jerry Thomas Project is better known as Rome’s best speakeasy cocktail bar. Apart from its website and highly active Facebook page (an uncharacteristic feature for most on-trend speakeasies), the Jerry Thomas Project embodies 1920s 'prohibition chic', and is named after the 'father of American mixology' Jeremiah Thomas who popularised cocktails and influenced the development of modern mixology.
The Project is not just a tribute to Jerry Thomas however, it is also a rediscovery of forgotten Italian spirits, a celebration of prohibition drinks with an Italian twist and an advocate for high quality products made with high quality raw Italian ingredients. This is the only vermouth on the market which is made solely from wines and ingredients produced in house. Quaglia insists that this ensures the intensity and authenticity of the aromas within the vermouth as they oversee the whole process from grape and herbs to the finished product. The vermouth matures for six months in small oak barrels. The time in oak barrels gives the vermouth an enveloping warmth and softness to the deliciously complex aromas of balsamic and mint reminiscent of old medicininal remedies of the past. There are further intriguing notes of refreshing absinthe, orange peel and vanilla. The palate is full and soft with initial balsamic and mint flavours. These flow into a pleasantly bitter aftertaste balanced by sweeter rhubarb and gentiana notes with muscovado sugar, and a light tannic structure from the refinement in oak.£3.6 per 100.00ml