Vermouth is an often underrated alcoholic beverage, and it can surprise people to learn that it’s featured in many popular classic and modern cocktails to add body and complexity.
Having been around for centuries, vermouth is finally getting the recognition it deserves as more and more are realising how integral it is to cocktail making.
If you’ve got a bottle or two of vermouth lying around, we’ve created this list of 9 wonderfully flavourful vermouth-based cocktails you can try at home.
What is Vermouth?
Invented in the 1780s in Italy, vermouth is a fortified wine, which is flavoured with a variety of different botanicals and is sometimes coloured too. Vermouth can either be drunk straight on the rocks as an aperitivo or mixed in cocktails to give it some extra flavour.
Typically, there are two types of vermouth, dry and sweet, which can affect the flavour of a cocktail. The sweet version is usually red in colour and has a subtle hint of spice and bitterness on the finish. Dry vermouth is often white and has a crisp tart flavour. It can also be used in cooking, similar to white wine.
While dry and sweet are the most common types of vermouth, you’ll also find other varieties, such as extra dry, amber, rosé and sweet white, which is also known as either blanc or bianco.
Widely known as one of the greatest cocktails ever created, you’ll find the Manhattan on menus all over the world. This sophisticated drink is comprised of only 3 ingredients, whiskey, vermouth and bitters. Offering a warm, rich and soothing flavour, the Manhattan is perfect to sip on after dinner.
In the early 1900s, the world-famous Martini cocktail was first created. While there are lots of stories about its origins, it’s believed that it evolved from a variation on the Manhattan. Since then, it’s grown in popularity and has been adapted countless times. But, the original martini consists of gin and vermouth with an olive or lemon twist garnish.
Bold and bittersweet, the Boulevardier is a truly unique cocktail. Invented in Paris in the 1920s, this drink certainly garners attention with its vibrant red, jewel-tone colouring. It’s also known for being smooth, rich, spicy and warm, making it perfect for an enticing Valentine’s Day-themed cocktail. Blending bourbon or vermouth, Campari and bitters, the distinct, balanced flavours of the Boulevardier makes it easy to enjoy.
Created in honour of the famous 1884 broadway musical of the same name after it reached a significant milestone of a 500 show run, the Adonis cocktail was crafted at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. Delicate and aromatic, this simple cocktail combines equal parts sherry and vermouth and is garnished with an orange twist.
One of the best vermouth cocktails around is, undoubtedly, the Negroni. This cocktail is one that everyone needs to try at least once in their life, with its refreshing and punchy flavours. It’s perfect to enjoy just before dinner as an aperitivo. Blending equal parts of gin, vermouth, Campari and bitters, it’s a drink that you’ll simply want to sit back with and savour.
Light and refreshing, the Americano is the perfect cocktail for a warm summer’s day and was the original inspiration behind the Negroni. First served in the 1860s in Milan, Italy, the cocktail features Campari, sweet vermouth and is then topped with sparkling water. Simple, bitter and bubbly, this carefree cocktail is a delight.
The Milano-Torino cocktail, or Mi-To as it’s also known, is very similar to the Americano, so similar in fact that many believe they are the same drink. But, they have one very small difference. The Mi-To simply combines Campari and vermouth, leaving out the soda water for a stronger flavoured drink. The Americano was inspired by the Milano-Torino along with the Negroni, so it’s definitely worth a try!
Classy and complex, the Martinez is an iconic cocktail that’s full of flavour. Drink historians agree that the Martinez originally evolved from the Manhattan and is a direct precursor to the Martini. Combining gin with sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur and bitters, this drink is balanced and sweet with a little spicy note.
9. Vieux Carre
If you’re a fan of the bold flavours of the Manhattan or the Old Fashioned, then chances are you’ll love the Vieux Carre too! With a name that means ‘French Quater’ in French, this cocktail was created in New Orleans in 1937 by the head bartender at Hotel Monteleone. Sweet, strong and spicy, the Vieux Carre is ideal for whiskey lovers as it combines rye whiskey, Cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, Peychaud bitters and Angostura bitters.
Take a look at our range of premium premixed vermouth cocktails to enjoy at home.