Is Vermouth wine or isn’t it wine? It starts off wine, but by the time each maker gets through with his particular brand, you cannot always tell.
The base is wine. To the wine is added each manufacture’s secret formula, which includes among other things, herbs, cloves, juniper, orange peel, sugar, and syrup.
Vermouth is an aperitif, the traditional “appetizer” so famous for that purpose throughout the world. It is popular here, too, for that purpose, although Americans consider any drink an aperitif, whether cocktail, wine or liquor.
Although not as the most celebrated aperitif as such in our country, it more than makes up for that by the presence of the excellent American standard the “dry martini.”
The name Vermouth comes from the German word for wormwood: wermut. There is also the old Anglo-Saxon of the spelling of wormwood: wermod.
Dry vermouth was originally primarily French, and sweet was primarily Italian. Now both kinds are made in France and Italy and just about everywhere that wine or spirits are made. When you are buying vermouth make sure that the French is dry if that is what you want, and that the Italian is sweet.
Vermouth is an exciting appetizer drink, and also adds a lot—in a variety of cocktails beside the martini.
Because there is such a big difference in vermouth’s, it pays to try different kinds before you settle on your choice. Even a slight difference in the composition of vermouth may make a big difference in its taste.
If you are searching for your cocktail, read about our editor’s journey here!