It would be easy to forget about that bottle of sweet vermouth hiding in your liquor cabinet but that would be a mistake. Instead, discover more than a dozen sweet vermouth cocktails that make great use of the oft-forgotten mixer.
Kudos if you recently bought your first bottle of sweet vermouth.
Perhaps you were motivated to craft a Negroni Sbagliato after it became a social media sensation. Or maybe you were inspired to recreate a different Italian cocktail that you sipped in Florence while enjoying a quiet moment at the Piazza Santo Spirito.
We bought our first sweet vermouth bottle to craft classic Negronis when we were cocktail newbies. After we crafted those cocktails, we placed the vermouth bottle on the back of the shelf, thinking it would likely collect dust for years. Fast forward to the present and we’ve since bought multiple bottles of sweet vermouth to craft many more Negronis plus other cocktails, both classic and modern.
What Is Sweet Vermouth?
Since sweet vermouth is a popular cocktail ingredient, you probably have a bottle in your liquor cabinet. But, if you’re like most people, you probably never thought too much about what sweet vermouth is and isn’t.
In simple terms, sweet vermouth is an aromatized fortified wine that derives its complex flavor from dozens of herbs and spices. Not surprisingly, sweet vermouth isn’t dry. Although all vermouth starts out as white wine, you’ll need to buy a bottle of dry vermouth if that’s the kind of vermouth you’re seeking for recipes like the Gibson and Old Pal.
Although the Italians didn’t invent vermouth, they championed the sweet version after Antonio Benedetto Carpano, a resident of Turin, sold his first bottle in 1786. Besides Carpano, other Italian sweet vermouth producers include Cinzano, Cocchi and Martini & Rossi.
While early imbibers sought medicinal benefits from sweet vermouth, they quickly realized the virtue of drinking sweet vermouth over ice, both with and without club soda, as an apéritif. Eventually, mixologists started adding sweet vermouth to mixed drinks along with liquors like bourbon and gin.
The rest, as they say, is cocktail history.
Sweet Vermouth Cocktails
Modern drinkers now buy bottles of sweet vermouth to craft cocktails at home. While the ruby red elixir isn’t the primary ingredient in many cocktails beyond than the classic Vermouth Spritz, sweet vermouth provides the color and flavor that transform certain cocktails from good to great.
Now that we’ve piqued your interest in sweet vermouth, we recommend pulling out your bottle and crafting one or more of the following cocktails:
13 Of The Best Sweet Vermouth Cocktails
Sweet Vermouth FAQs
Sweet vermouth is aromatized fortified wine that derives its complex flavor from dozens of herbs and spices
While there’s no harm in drinking sweet vermouth on the rocks, with or without a splash of club soda, the best way to drink sweet vermouth is in crafted cocktails.
The most iconic sweet vermouth cocktails include the Americano, Manhattan and Negroni.
Storing sweet vermouth in the refrigerator extends its shelf life. While drinking old sweet vermouth won’t make you sick, sweet vermouth slowly loses its flavor after the bottle is opened.
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About The Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on their website 2foodtrippers. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.
Original Publication Date: May 14, 2023