Vermouth has an underserved, bad reputation. Maybe it’s because most people store it in the back of a dusty cupboard, where it’s sure to go bad after a couple months. Or maybe it’s because the extra dry martini craze has pushed vermouth out of the limelight.
In any case, Vermouth is just misunderstood – especially sweet vermouth. Here’s why this strong wine needs a comeback:
- What is it: Vermouth is a fortified wine and comes in two forms – dry vermouth is associated with France and sweet vermouth with Italy. Although vermouth can be red or white in color, all vermouth is made with white wines and the colors come from caramel. Vermouth is also flavored with herbs, roots, bark, flowers and other botanicals. Popular brands include Martini & Rossi, Cinzano Bianco and Carpano Punt E Mes.
- Origins: The earliest commercial vermouths came out of Italy in the late 18th century, many by Martini & Rossi, who is still a giant in the market today. Because of its Italian roots, any sweet vermouth made now, regardless of its real country of origin, is also known as “Italian vermouth.”
- History of the name: The name vermouth is the French pronunciation for the German word “wermut” for wormwood, which was one of the original ingredients in the fortified wine.
- Substitutes: If you don’t have sweet vermouth, try port or sweet Madeira.
- Mix it in: Manhattan, Olive Martini, or Artillery
- Things to try: Martini Vermouth Atomizer Spray Set and NV Quady Vya Sweet Vermouth blend.
Photo credit: creative-culinary.com