Well anyone who makes a cocktail should care. Vermouth is an essential cocktail ingredient, underpinning the Martini, Manhattan and Negroni. But actually Vermouth can be a great Aperitif or pre-dinner drink.
Vermouth is actually a fortified wine with an ABV that can range from a minimum of 14.5 per cent to a maximum of 22 per cent, and a wine content that must be higher than 75 per cent. It often includes wormwood among other botanicals used to create a bitterness that makes it such a good pre-dinner drink.
The quality of vermouth is most influenced by the wine used at the base, while style and flavour are determined by the botanicals, and spirits used to fortify.
Most Vermouths come from France such as Noilly Pratt, Dolin and Italy such as Carpana Antica, Martini Vermouth but increasingly Australia is making great vermouths such as Regal Rogue and Maddenii.
Historically, there have been two main types of vermouth: sweet and dry. Responding to demand and competition, vermouth manufacturers have created additional styles, including extra-dry white, sweet white (bianco), red, amber (ambre or rosso), and rose.
Because vermouth is fortified, an opened bottle will not sour as quickly as white wine. Opened vermouth, however, will gradually deteriorate over time. Experts recommend that opened bottles of vermouth be consumed within one to three months and should be kept refrigerated to slow oxidation.
When to use Red or White Vermouth?
Basically white vermouth is drier and red vermouth is sweeter. A Martini uses dry vermouth, and a Manhattan is served with the sweeter red sibling. Traditionally white vermouth has been used in cooking.