What is Vermouth?
Vermouth is a fortified wine that is flavoured (or aromatized) with various botanicals. There are many types of Vermouth and the botanicals vary from producer to producer but will include a blend of roots, bark, flowers, herbs, spices and seeds. It is one of the most famous and classic cocktail ingredients and is particularly well known as an ingredient in the Martini and Manhattan cocktails. Originally the two main types of were sweet and dry but today there are more types and styles including white (bianco), amber and rosé.
See our range of Vermouth here.
How is Vermouth Made?
All Vermouth is made in the same basic way – a low alcohol white wine is made which may or may not be aged briefly. If it is to be sweet, sugar syrup is added to the wine prior to it being fortified with extra alcohol – this is normally a neutral grape spirit. After this the wine is then place in oak barrels with the dry botanicals and left to age, with occasional stirring, until it is ready for bottling. Red Vermouth is made by adding caramel colour. It is usually bottled at between 16% and 18% abv.
Producers of Vermouth
The most famous Vermouth producers are Carpano (Punt e Mes and Antica Formula), Cinzano, Dubonnet, Gallo, Martini & Rossi, Noilly Prat and Tribuno but there are a number of smaller, more boutique producers. The French region of Chambery in the Savoie has been awarded an appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) for its Vermouths which include Chamberyzette, which is a strawberry-flavoured version. More recently a number of producers have sprung up in the USA including Atsby from New York, Imbue from Portland and Vya made by Quady Wines in Madera County. California. Each of these is made from different ingredients and all have their own characteristics. Even our local gin distillery, Winchester Distillery, who makes Twisted Nose Gin, makes a Vermouth.
There are many very famous, classic cocktails that require Vermouth and these include the Martini, Manhattan, Rob Roy, Negroni, Americano, Bronx and Gibson. In France it is often drunk neat. It is also an invaluable cooking ingredient and is used in many fish, pork and chicken recipes.