Vermouth is a traditional Italian liquor used in many cocktails and on its own as a digestif. The main ingredients in vermouth are wine, distilled alcohol, herbs, spices, and botanicals like anise and gentian.
Before you whip out your credit card to buy Vermouth online, check out these fascinating facts about the fortified wine.
There Are Three Main Types of Vermouth
Vermouth comes in dry, sweet, and aromatic varieties, and it’s the type of grape that influences the overall flavor of the vermouth.
Dry vermouth is made from white wine and is typically used in cocktails with bitters. You will find it to be more aromatic, with herby and citrusy tones. Sweet vermouth is made from red wine, adding sweetness and fruit notes to the drink. If you enjoy sipping cocktails like martinis or Manhattans, you’re a fan of sweet vermouth. This variety is more robust than the others and contains up to 15% more sugar, hence the “sweet” moniker.
Aromatic vermouth, also known as French vermouth, is made from white (non-fortified) wine and red (fortified) wine. Classic cocktails like the Martinez or the Negroni use this type of vermouth. Oak casks are used to store French vermouth until it achieves its well-known spicy aroma.
Vermouth Was Originally Medicinal
The drink was first produced in the mid-1700s by a doctor named Antonio Benedetto Carpano. He was working on a medicinal solution for his patients when he mixed three herbs together — wormwood, gentian, and caraway. After sipping his concoction, he noticed they tasted marvelous together.
The word “vermouth” comes from the French pronunciation of the German word “wermut,” meaning wormwood. Vermouth no longer contains wormwood, but the name has stuck.
Vermouth Should Be Stored Carefully
Fortified wines have a longer shelf life than regular wines because of the alcohol, which acts as a natural preservative. Unopened, sweet vermouth will keep for up to three years in your pantry, while dry Vermouth will keep for up to one year.
Vermouth is a form of wine, not a spirit, so it has a shorter shelf life. Unlike spirits, vermouth needs to be kept chilled. If left at room temperature, it will begin to lose its flavor, and nobody wants bland vermouth.
If stored in the fridge, vermouth will last for at least two months, possibly three.
Vermouth Is Very Versatile
While it has long been associated with the cocktail world, vermouth is also very versatile and is an ideal ingredient for cooking as well as drinking.
Vermouth makes a perfect partner for seafood. Try using it in bouillabaisse or cioppino – two classic seafood stews. If you’re cooking a whole fish in a white wine sauce, try substituting vermouth for the white wine.
If you’re only using vermouth in a martini, then you’re missing out. Vermouth is a good base for making classic cocktails like the Manhattan and Negroni, and it can also take a drink from good to great when added as a modifier.
Vermouth Is Different From Other Fortified Wines Like Port and Sherry
We often pour a glass of port or sherry to enjoy after a meal due to their sweetness. However, Vermouth is more likely to be served as a pre-meal aperitif. Another wonderful aspect of Vermouth is that it can be served with a range of mixers – like soda water, tonic water, or ginger ale – for a refreshing Spritz drink.
Vermouth is one of those alcohols that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It’s not a trendy spirit but a secret well-kept by bartenders and connoisseurs. Once you’ve tested it out, you’ll understand why it’s so loved by the experts.