Drinks Guide

SUPPORTING ROLE GUIDE: VERMOUTH

Six things you might not know about the classic cocktail buddy – vermouth

Vermouth is a versatile bittersweet fortified wine that’s great when drunk as an aperitif and used in cocktails. Here's six things you might not know about vermouth  – plus a few of Toast’s favourite classic vermouth cocktails (below)…

  1. Vermouth is made from at least 75% wine that has been “aromatised” with the addition of herbal and spice ingredients, and fortified by the addition of spirits, most commonly brandy, to make it stronger.
  2. Its use started as a medicine, and the addition of herbs to wine for medicinal purposes can be traced back to ancient China, India and Greece.
  3. Vermouth gets its name from the German word for wormwood, a plant believed to aid digestion (and also the key ingredient in absinthe). Other botanicals commonly added to vermouth include liquorice, orange peel, cinnamon, anise, cardamom and gentian.
  4. Vermouth is used in cocktails – such as classics like the Manhattah, Martini and Negroni (see recipes below) – to add a sweet, bitter note and bring “roundness” to the flavours of the base spirit.
  5. Vermouth comes in a number of varieties: white, red, rose and golden – although white and red are the most common; and in sweet and dry versions, which essentially means they are either lighter with less sugar (dry), or sweeter and fuller in the mouth (sweet). For a taste comparison, think of the Martini - which generally uses a dry vermouth, versus a Negroni – which is typically made with a sweet vermouth.
  6. Because of the addition of spirits, vermouth lasts longer once opened than wine, and can be kept in the fridge for approximately a month, after which time the flavours will start to be compromised.

Manhattan

Manhattan

Martini

Martini

Negroni

Negroni

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