Classic Cocktail Serves
How is it made?
There are strict rules governing what can and cannot be considered a vermouth. Wine is carefully selected to form the foundation of the vermouth – bianco, rosé or rosso – before being fortified by the addition of more alcohol to between 14.5 and 22% ABV. The mix is then sweetened with either caramelised sugar, sucrose or grape must before botanicals are added to give the vermouth its signature flavour profile. Recipes vary, but vermouth must be flavoured with wormwood – indeed, the name itself comes from the German for wormwood: wermut.
Who makes it?
An increasing number of people. No longer dominated by Italy, France and their respective powerhouses Martini and Noilly Prat, wermut has spread its seeds worldwide. Rising popularity across Europe has seen a plethora of producers spring up – Belsazar in Germany, Vermood in Greece and Sacred in the UK to name a few – though traditionalists might argue that vermouth is still dominated by its two original styles: dry French and sweeter Italian.
How to serve it
Too often seen solely as an ingredient, vermouth is more versatile than you might imagine. Many vermouths are delightful served alone as an aperitif on ice, with a twist of citrus zest – and if you're looking to examine a particular vermouth's individual character, then this is certainly the way to do it. It's impossible to ignore this drink's unique cocktail credentials, though: vermouth is the backbone to an extensive array of old-world concoctions, everything from the clean and classic Martini to the refreshing and complex Negroni.