Vermouth Makes a Splash

You will find vermouth commonly listed as an ingredient in various cocktails, but what exactly is this mysterious ingredient, and where did it come from? For almost a century, vermouth was prized as an aperitif and a key ingredient in some popular cocktails. Vermouth’s popularity waned in the second half of the 20th century, however, with the resurgence of the American cocktail culture, vermouth is back and better than ever!

Vermouth is a fortified, aromatized wine. That means the wine has been infused with botanicals that add flavor and color. Broadly speaking there are two styles of vermouth: Italian (sweet/red) and French (dry/white). Keep in mind French and Italian are used to describe styles, not to identify country of origin. The first sweet vermouth was produced in 1786 in Turin, Italy by Antonio Benedetto Carpano. Supposedly the drink became very popular with the Royal Court of Turin. The first dry vermouth was produced in France somewhere between 1800 and 1813 by Joseph Noilly, who was an herbalist.

What do most people think of when they hear vermouth? More often than not, it will always be “martini” or “Manhattan.” However, it can be (and is!) much more than that.

Vermouth has been around for hundreds of years. Vermouth is the French pronunciation of the German word “Wermut” for wormwood, which has been used as an ingredient in vermouth over its history. Vermouth can be made from a combination of a wide variety of botanicals. They can include wormwood (as noted), angelica root, orange peel, lemon peel, juniper, ginger, coriander, clove, cinnamon and cardamom.

Don’t treat vermouth as just another cocktail ingredient, it is a cocktail!  Cocchi Vermouth di Torino is our pick to make the traditional vermouth cocktail with.

To commemorate the 120th anniversary of the House of Cocchi, production of Giulio Cocchi’s original recipe of Vermouth di Torino resumed, which was previously produced in 1891.

Using Moscato wine as its base, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino has vibrant notes of citrus, cocoa, rhubarb and a balanced bitter undertone, serve this over ice with a twist of lemon or orange. The sweetness from the fruit and the bitterness of the vermouth combine to create the perfect match. If making a cocktail, try a Boulevardier instead of a Manhattan.

What to do with your bottle of vermouth once it’s open? Store it in the refrigerator. Once vermouth is exposed to air, it will start to oxidize and the flavor will start to turn. An open bottle of vermouth will stay fresh for about 2 months.

Now, it’s time to make this fortified wine your new favorite!

Vermouth Cocktail

Ingredients

* 2 ounces Cocchi Vermouth di Torino

* 1 dash Angostura bitters

Directions

Stir with ice and strain into a small stemmed glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon or orange.

Boulevardier

Ingredients

* 1 ounce bourbon or rye whiskey

* 1 ounce Campari

* 1 ounce sweet vermouth

*  Garnish: orange twist or cherry

Directions

Pour ingredients into a mixing glass and fill with cracked ice. Stir well for 20 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry or a twist of orange peel.

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