If you are a Martini of Manhattan fan than you know vermouth. It is a fortified wine made with wine, brandy and a mix of herbs. Vermouth was first created in the 1700s in the Piedmont region of Italy. In fact, the word vermouth comes from wermut — the German word for wormwood, one of the basic ingredients of its spirit.
Vermouth can be either red or white. That’s due to the grape variety used and of the base wine. While white vermouth can be dry or semi-sweet, most red vermouth is fully sweet. Sugar or mistelle are added to receive the desired level os sweetness.
What is cool about vermouth is that it was originally used for medicinal purposes, just like gin, vodka, and other great spirits. Some of the most famous cocktails that have vermouth as a star ingredients would, of course, be the Gin Martini, the Negroni, the Manhattan. Certainly, a bottle of vermouth (two are even better) is the essential item to have in your home bar. For sure.
How Vermouth Is Made?
There are two methods of making vermouth. The first one is the maceration. This is something similar to making a cup of leaf tea. The botanicals are steeped in fortified wine for a few weeks (the time period depends on the maker) to unleash their flavours and extracts. Then the lefts of herbs are filtered and we got amazing flavourful vermouth.
The second method is an infusion. To become a vermouth red or white wine is infused with a secret blend of more than a hundred aromatic spices herbs, flavourings, and barks. Among them angelica, anise, bitter almond, camomile, cinnamon, coriander, ginger, quinine, rhubarb and even saffron. And, until it was banned because of its supposed toxicity, absinthe was also included. After the wines been infused, it is then fortified to raise its alcohol content to 15-21% ABV.
How to Drink and Store Vermouth?
The taste of vermouth is versatile: a complex mix of bitterness, sweetness, dryness, and acidity. This is because of the vast number of botanicals, used in its producing. You will never be able to identify all notes presented in the vermouth you are drinking. If you will, then better keep your mouth shut or the makers will find you and make you suffer! Just joking, but in fact, most of the vermouth producers have their secret recipe and that’s why there are so many so great and so different tastes of vermouth.
As we mentioned before, vermouth is widely used in the art of shaking and mixing. It is also great served neat, with a splash of soda or your favourite tonic water and garnished with orange peel or a slice of lemon. Vermouth tastes gorgeous even on its own splashed over ice. Its an aperitif, so you would like to drink it before lunch or dinner with some snacks like mussels, anchovies, olives or pickles. Mmm, sounds delicious!
As for the storage, please, don’t leave it open on your kitchen shelf, vermouth hates to be left for a long time. Then it looses its incredible flavour profile. It is much better to keep vermouth in the fridge. Kill the bottle within 1-2 months and enjoy this sipping pleasure on and off.
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