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Vermouth

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All About Vermouth

Vermouth is on the verge of breaking out of your martini. Oh, it'll still be there for cocktails when you need it, but it's stepping into the spotlight of its own. Vermouth is both aromatized (infused with herbs and botanicals) and fortified (adding neutral spirits to increase alcohol content). Manufacturers keep their botanical blends close to the vest, though, meaning every vermouth will taste different.

How Should I Drink Vermouth?

You won't want to drink a hefty glass of vermouth like you would normal wine, but it's a must-have for your home's bar. Many popular cocktails require a dose of vermouth, including martinis, Manhattans, Negronis and the bizarrely named Rob Roy. Gallo, Martini & Rossi and Carpano are the most popular manufacturers, but you might want to try a few in a drink to find the one you like best. Once you find the right one, it's as satisfying as finding the perfect pair of pants.

What Are the Types of Vermouth?

While vermouth is broadly categorized as sweet and dry, most bartenders will tell you there are three types, and each has its own distinct qualities.

  • Sweet Red: There's nothing better than the original sweet red vermouth. Used most commonly in Negronis and Manhattans, this version was historically made in Italy. It's slightly bitter but has a Mediterranean-type quality that will have you dreaming about the French Riviera or Tuscany. Look for "rosso" on the label.
  • Sweet White: Fruity, floral and aromatic, sweet white vermouth is the ideal partner for summery cocktails and dessert wines. A vermouth spritz, made with soda water and the garnish of your choice, is one of the most popular sweet white drinks, and it's ideal for relaxing around the pool. Take time to enjoy this one. Thanks to its lower alcohol content, you can sip on it all afternoon.
  • Dry White: Don't drink this one straight. It won't leave the best taste in your mouth. However, it's perfect in martinis, and it cuts straight through the liquor to give you a quality drink. It's lighter, but not as sweet as the other varieties.