Vermouth. It’s never exactly been the rockstar in your home bar. No man ever wooed a pretty lady back to his place with the promise of a sweet vermouth on the rocks, or made house party history for giving someone a vermouth dentist’s chair. In fact, the only time you may have had a whiff of its herby aroma would be after a belly-busting Sunday roast round your nan’s. Until now.
“Vermouth got a bad rep as a drink that only old people sucked up through their gums,” says head honcho at London drinking hole Bump Caves and vermouth championer, Max Chater. “But really, it’s one hell of a drink. It’s the base of some of the manliest cocktails on the menu, from Negronis to Martinis. All of a sudden these classics are on trend again, and with it, vermouth’s having a slick reinvention.”
It’s a reinvention we’re embracing, not only because it’s the key to cocktails any man can order without dropping his masculine credentials, but there’s more poke in this booze than you think. As it’s a fortified (meaning it has a spirit added to it to make it boozier) and aromatised (infused with herbs, spices and barks) drink, essentially your grandparents have been knocking back a herby turbo-charged wine all this time. Yup, nana still knows how to party.
Top barman Max Chater gives us his picks of the best vermouth...
Cocchi Di Torino
“A complex bottle filled with aromas of singed orange, vanilla and caramel.”
Vya Extra Dry
“Made in California and hand-infused with over 15 dried herbs.”
Dolin De Chambery
“A super historic bottle, having been made the same way since 1821 in Alpine, France.”
Antica Formula Carpano
“Carpano is the home of the world’s first vermouth, so you can’t get more authentic than this.”
Just hover over the image for the recipes...
All vermouth shown available at thewhiskyexchange.com
Words by: Chris Sayer