Quick Sips: Vermouths are marked by their signature melange of grape, butter, and floral on the palate. Wormwood, a signature ingredient, can be found in most. Orange peels, sweet caramel, bitterness, forest herbs, and a little bit of saline can be tasted in most.
Applications: Like many European alcohols, Vermouth was originally believed to be medicinal and is still ubiquitous as an aperitif across the continent. The Golden Age of cocktails popularized the bitter stateside due to drinks like the Manhattan and the Martini.
NOTE: Vermouth should always be refrigerated when not in use.
Backstory: Vermouth is a fortified and aromatized wine, originally created in 18th century Italy. Producers start with the juice from neutral or unfermented grapes, typically Clairette blanche, Piquepoul, Bianchetta Trevigiana, Catarratto and Trebbiano. A second, fortifying alcohol is added to the mix. Then, the liquids are placed in barrels already containing herbs and spices such as wormwood, cloves, cinnamon, quinine, citrus peel, cardamom, marjoram, chamomile, coriander, juniper, hyssop, and ginger.