WHAT IS VERMOUTH?
Vermouth takes a wine base and turns it into a new, highly aromatic drink fortified with a spirit. These wines can be white, red, rose, or amber. The tastes vary between particular brands, but the basic styles are usually either very dry or very sweet. Vermouth always has some sort of spice to it, because there are many different herbs and spices used to make it so aromatic.
One of the most popular ways to drink Vermouth is in the form of a cocktail. Some of the most famous cocktails, such as the Martini and the Negroni, feature Vermouth as the centerpiece of the mixture. The spicy flavors and the zing from this fortified wine make for a wonderful cocktail base that acts as the platform for many other delicious drinks.
Vermouth is produced all over the world using a large variety of base wines and spirits. It has been around since the 18th century, when it was used largely as an aperitif to aid in the digestion of meals.
BEST BRANDS OF VERMOUTH
One of the original brands of Vermouth, Carpano arguably developed the standard of what we now refer to as a vermouth as early as 1786. This is an Italian brand that produces both sweet and dry reds and whites. The most famous Carpano Vermouth is the Punt e Mes, a red vermouth, that has an unexpected mix of sweetness and bitters. This is unusual for a lot of other vermouths as bitters are typically mixed in when a cocktail is made, and Punt e Mes has sometimes been referred to as a “bottled cocktail”.
Atsby is a uniquely American brand that doesn’t taste anything like the traditional European vermouth brands. They use a white Chardonnay as the base wine with a fortification of apple brandy. Out of the two products, the sweet vermouth gets its sugar from caramel and the drier vermouth is sweetened with honey. Both types have a very nice earth taste because of the use of a lot of botanical ingredients.
Like Carpano, Cinzano is one of the world’s leading authorities in producing vermouth. As a company, Cinzano has been around longer than Carpano. This is a label you’re likely to see around and a brand that people will recognize with vermouth liquor. Cinzano produces rosso, bianco, extra dry, and rose vermouth, although the rose is not available in the US.
Martini & Rossi
One of the most famous brands of vermouth there is, at least in the US market, is Martini & Rossi, sometimes labeled as just Martini. This brand is the original cocktail drink that was used to make Martinis. Martini rosso and Martini bianco are the most famous drinks made by this brand, although others are offered as reds, whites, rose, and more.
Made in France, Noilly Prat vermouth is known as the original dry vermouth. Their most famous drinks are extra dry and original French dry. Each of the vermouth drinks made by this brand are aged in oak barrels, aiding to the drier flavors and tasty spices that make the drinks so tempting to those who love a dry liquor.
This is one of the notable Vermouth brands produced in California. It started out as a small artisanal brand, but has grown larger within the US since its 1990s start. You can get Vya brand Vermouth in extra dry, sweet, and whisper dry varieties. The sweet and extra dry are made with the same base white wine with different aromatic ingredients added to give the separate flavors. Vya sweet Vermouth has an incredible mix of caramel, cinnamon, and red currant tastes that blend together for a very sweet sip. Extra dry is much crisper and has a more floral quality to it that’s very pleasant as the base of a cocktail.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST TASTING VERMOUTH
You’ll want to choose your brand with consideration of how you intend to drink the Vermouth. If you intend to make cocktails with it, choose one of the spicy, sweet Vermouths that can really complement the flavors of the other drinks in the mix. For sipping, you might consider a drier, more aromatic brand that can stand on its own as a great drink. All of this revolves around your preference, and as you try more brands you will see for yourself what you like and don’t like in a good Vermouth.