How to make vermouth
Vermouth is a sweet wine widely consumed as an aperitif. We describe the recipe for homemade vermouth, step by step, and list the most common types of vermouth.
TRIED AND TESTED1 July 2019
Vermouth was the aperitif par excellence in the 50s and 60s in our country until it was superseded by beer and other beverages. Today, it is once again recovering its lost status.
Its origin goes back to ancient Greece, when Hippocrates macerated wine with wormwood, a key plant used in its production. In fact, the word vermouth is of German origin (Wermut) which means, precisely, wormwood. In 1786, the creators of the modern vermouth concept were Antonio and Beneditto Carpano of Milan. Later, Martini & Rossi converted it into a standardised product.
The base is muscatel wine, sugar, alcohol, caramel and various aromatic substances, herbs, leaves and spices to personalise the flavour. Its alcohol content ranges from 15º to 23º. Although it can be consumed in several ways, traditionally, there is only one way, with ice and a piece of orange peel, for reds or lemon, for whites.
Types of vermouth
• Red: originates from Italy and is known as vermouth rosso or black. It is the most classic and commonly drunk in Spain and also the sweetest because of the added caramel, which is also responsible for its colour. It is less bitter and dry than the rest, highlighting aromatic herbs and spices such as cinnamon.
• White: of French origin, is similar to dry vermouth. It is usually sweeter than the red because some of the herbaria and bitter substances used in red are not used. It is the most consumed in the world, along with dry vermouth, and usually has notes of vanilla and citrus.
• Dry: known as dry vermouth, is also of French origin, and they are the world's largest producers. It is especially used in cocktails, to make the famous 'Dry Martini' and also in cooking. It is considered the most bitter of the vermouths.
• Rosé: considered one of the softest, lightest and freshest vermouths, with floral and fruity notes, its popularity is relatively recent.
• Handcrafted vermouths: made from a wide variety of botanicals (wormwood, savory, cinnamon, orange peel, gentian, cardamon, clove, nutmeg, sage, coriander, star anise, etc.) and different types of ageing.
• Alcohol-free version: instead of subjecting the ingredients to a fermentation process, maceration is used to capture the taste, and to avoid the alcohol content.
How to make homemade vermouth step by step
- Step 1: In a glass jar with a lid, place the essential herbs for making vermouth, such as wormwood, cinnamon, lemon peel, orange peel, chamomile, gentian, juniper berries, elderflower, coriander... For each litre of wine, preferably white, put half a large spoonful of wormwood (if you do not want it very bitter, use 1/3 of a spoon), half a stick of cinnamon, the peel of both citrus fruits and a spoonful each of the herbs mentioned.
- Step 2: Leave the container in an enclosed, dark, dry and cool space for between two weeks and a month for the aromas and flavours to infuse.
- Step 3:After this time, remove the herbs and add a little honey or three spoonfuls of sugar, previously caramelised. If you want an extra touch of alcohol, add sherry. It's a matter of taste.