VermouthAperitifs and Digestifs
Vermouths, and other aperitifs and digestifs, have been a constantly popular part of the drinks world for decades. Drunk on their own or used as cocktail ingredients, they are versatile and flavoursome drinks that deserve further exploration.
What is vermouth?
Vermouth is an aromatised fortified wine, made by adding botanicals to wine which has had spirit added to it. They are usually around 15%-20% abv and come in a variety of different styles – the two most common are:
Sweet vermouth – often called sweet red vermouth or vermouth rosso, as the most popular ones have a deep red colour, or Italian vermouth, after the country where the style was popularised.
Dry vermouth – a key ingredient of the Martini cocktail, these white vermouths are less commonly drunk neat, but can be a refreshing aperitif.
The best vermouth brands to look out for include Martini, Dolin, Cocchi, Carpano – especially Antica Formula – and Noilly Prat.
While vermouths can be drunk on their own, these days they are more commonly found as ingredients in a wide range of cocktails – vermouth is key to the Manhattan and Negroni, as well as the Martini. While sweet vermouth is a better known ingredient, dry vermouth cocktails are experiencing a renaissance. It is most commonly used when making Martinis and either dry or perfect Manhattans, but there are a whole host of classic cocktails to investigate.
What is amaro?
The Italian for ‘bitter’, amaro is a herbal liqueur that is usually drunk as a digestif. Produced by macerating herbs and spices in alcohol, then bottled at around 30% abv.
What is Barolo Chinato?
Cinchona bark is steeped in Barolo wine (a full-bodied red made from the Nebbiolo grape) and flavoured with herbs and spices to produce a full-bodied robust digestif at around 16% abv.
What is fernet?
Fernet is an extra-bitter style of amaro, produced by adding herbs and spices to spirit, and usually bottled at around 40% abv.
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Antica Formula CarpanoBot.1970s
(£265.33 per litre)
(£200 per litre)
(£332.22 per litre)
Campari BitterBot.1970s Litre
Pimm's No.1 CupGin Sling Bot.1960s
(£166.67 per litre)
(£600 per litre)
Ferro China BalivaBot.1950s
(£159.90 per litre)
Buton Elixir di ChinaBot.1940s
(£265.33 per litre)
Drioli Elisir Di ChinaBot.1950s
Gancia Vermouth AmaroBot.1960s
Egidio Vitali Vino VermouthBot.1940s
Campari Bitter & CordialBot.1970s Bottle Set & Sonnets Book
(£733.33 per litre)
Campari Bitter & Cordial SetBot.1960s 3 x 75cl
(£2,000 per litre)
Campari Bitter & CordialBot.1980s Bottle Set
(£500 per litre)
MirafioreVermouth Bianco Bot.1950s
(£160 per litre)
Campari BitterBot.1960s Litre
Fernet Branca MentaBot.1980s
(£133.27 per litre)
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