Dumpster Juice from Bloomsday Cafe is a vermouth made for Philly

Published: January 20, 2021 - 1:23 PM

The name began a decade ago as an inside joke — Dumpster Juice — a cheeky nod to the idea that almost anything, from bitter herbs to citrus peels, thistles and branches, can be steeped in fortified wine and transformed into the magic of vermouth.

“I thought it was funny,” said Bloomsday Cafe co-owner Zach Morris, recalling his wisecrack over a long-ago spritzer project at the Philadelphia Wine School, where he used to teach.

“Wherever you have a wine industry, you have vermouth, because it is a way of preserving waste products.”

But the idea stuck. So this spring, when Morris put his own first batch of vermouth to steep at Bloomsday with local ingredients.

“I wrote ‘Dumpster Juice’ on a piece of tape on a glass carboy of nasty, macerating liquid and thought: Philly would accept this more than most places with the pride of a parent’s love.”

The finished products of Bloomsday’s bimonthly vermouth series since have been anything but trash.

In fact, they have been as elegant as they’ve been diverse in personality. Made with a base of local riesling and vodka, plus an evolving bouquet of botanicals that reflect the changing seasons, each of the four limited-edition batches released to date have been snapped up swiftly through Instagram by the city’s quiet legion of vermouth fans.

Bloomsday’s fifth batch of vermouth, to be released on Friday, could not be a better homage to 2020. This “Glad That’s Over Edition” has been dubbed Dumpster Fire and, as the can reads: ”Here’s to the end of a pretty garbage year!”

Morris is aiming for a limited winery license and a space large enough to produce vermouth to sell wholesale.


Reporting by:
Craig LaBan

Photos by:
Steven M. Falk