Vermouth

Vermouth is type of fortified wine with added hints of various herbs and spices. It’s a common ingredient in many cocktails, the most well-known being the martini.

Types of Vermouth

The two most common types of vermouth are dry and sweet. Dry vermouths (sometimes called “French vermouth”) are light in color, often with a hint of yellow. The quintessential dry vermouth drink is the martini.

Sweet vermouths, often labelled “Rosso” or “Italian vermouth”, are reddish in color and sweeter tasting than dry vermouths. The best-known sweet vermouth drink is the manhattan.

Another less common type of vermouth are “blanc” or “bianco”. Blanc vermouth is clear in color, but sweeter in flavor than a dry vermouth. These are delicious and I find the flavor in some ways reminiscent of Sherry.

There are also several aperitif wines that are not technically vermouth, but are fairly similar, such as Cocchi Americano and Lillet Blanc.

If you want to find out more, here is a more detailed breakdown of vermouth types.

Brands

The most readily-available brand of vermouth (in the U.S.) is Martini & Rossi. Their dry vermouth is passable, but there are better options available. Their sweet vermouth is overly medicinal and a quick way to ruin a drink.

Vermouth is often under-appreciated, largely because old bottles of Martini & Rossi are all you will find in most home liquor cabinets. I recommend the following brands (my favorites at the top). You may need to visit a larger liquor store to find them.

Storing Vermouth

Vermouth is made from wine, so it goes bad! Once you’ve opened a bottle, store it in your fridge. It will be good there for about three months.

If you’re unsure, taste a little. If it tastes bad, it’s bad. If you have an old dusty bottle on your shelf, throw it away.

Once you have some fresh, high quality vermouth, try out a French Kiss