The Art of Drinking Vermouth

Vermouth is often used in various cocktails because of its aroma and flavor. It’s also a popular fortified wine because of the roots, herbs, flowers, and bark that are added to it, but what do you really know about vermouth and what it tastes like if drank on its own?

How Vermouth is Made

Vermouth is a type of Moscato wine in Italy that is flavored with tree bark, saffron, anise, cinnamon, chamomile, and even absinthe to make it sweet or semisweet. More accurately though, vermouth is a fortified aperitif wine, which means that its base is either mistelle (white grape juice or brandy and fermented white wine) or white wine. Unlike Moscato wine, however, vermouth contains more alcohol because it’s fortified. Using the base of white wine or mistelle, distilled alcohol is added, usually using brandy, to raise the proof.

This process is what makes up the fortification of vermouth. Next, the base is aromatized using substances made from plants. This could be a mixture of spices, herbs, roots, seeds, flowers, and others. The use of botanicals give vermouth its color and flavor. Most of the vermouth today contain wormwood, from which its name is derived, while the color caramel comes from the sugar.

The Benefits of Vermouth

Whether you prefer the pale, dry and bitter vermouth or the red and sweet vermouth, when consumed in moderation, it is good for you because it promotes food digestion and improves appetite. In some cases, 50 grams of vermouth can even help someone recover from food poisoning or gastroenteritis. Besides being a good antiseptic, too, the herbs and spices it contains can help you relax after a stressful day at work. Some people use a mixture of vermouth and 2 tablespoons of honey to relive cold and sore throat. It can also be mixed with aloe juice and honey to relieve stomach ulcer.

Vermouth Food Pairings

Because of the diverse flavors of vermouth, there are a lot of options for food pairings depending on its characteristic taste. Aromatic French vermouth are best paired with cheeses because they complement the vermouth’s nutty flavors. While dry vermouth like Italian varieties are best paired with smelly cheeses. However, most vermouth will go well with chicken, scallops, shrimp, mushrooms, beef steak, mussels, salmon, and pancetta.

The Best Vermouth Cocktails

Try these vermouth cocktails with your friends:

  • Negroni: 1 ounce sweet vermouth, 1 ounce Campari, 1 ounce gin, and citrus essence
  • Black Dog: ½ ounce dry vermouth and 3 ounces rum
  • Vampire’s Kiss: ½ ounce dry vermouth, 2 ounces vodka, ½ ounce dry gin, 1 tablespoon tequila, 2 ounces tomato juice, and 1 pinch salt
  • Manhattan:1 ounce sweet vermouth, 2 ounces bourbon, 1 dash orange bitters, 2 dashes Angostura bitters, and brandied cherry for garnish
  • Rob Roy: 1 ounce sweet vermouth, 2 ounces blended scotch whiskey, 2 dashes angostura bitters, and lemon peel for garnish
  • Vermouth Cassis: 1 ½ ounce dry vermouth, ¾ ounce crème de cassis, and club soda
  • Carpano-Rita: ½ ounce sweet vermouth, 1 ½ ounces tequila, ¾ ounces lemon juice, and ¼ ounce agave syrup