The world of Vermouths
Vermouth is nothing but the fortified and aromatised wine. Vermouths are made using the wine as a base, typically from white varietals, even though at the end product seems to be red in color. This base is infused with a blend of different botanicals, herbs and plants and then fortification makes it stronger in alcohol percentage with the addition of grape spirit (Brandy) Which instantly kills the yeast which is eating all the sugar presented, resulting in much sweeter and higher in alcohol compared to the base wine used.
The monks of old times discovered how to preserve aged wine by adding to its old body botanical species to improve the flavour.
The tradition keeps going. Aromatic herbs and wine-based method constitute the vermouth as a beverage of elegance. There are, however, numerous different herbs, as well as flavors, that can be used to produce this alcoholic beverage. A reference to trade secrets of the different producers gives an idea why the flavours they use walk away from our knowledge. Different seeds, roots, etc., however, are among the mentioned in privacy. Added, as a mixture or extract, to a white wine as a base, usually stemming from grapes, may shape the idea of how the beverage is processed. In its final phase, a filtering and alcohol fortification follow suit. For the sake of information, sweetening techniques allowed for vermouth have been developed in Europe for quite a long time now. In Spain and Portugal, an aromatised, wine-based beverage is “Sangria”; as a sales denomination, however, it enjoys less the reputation of vermouth.
What can be clearly identified, however, are the two types from two European locations: Italy and France. The United States produces them, too. The sweeter and darker type of vermouth has an Italian origin; while, the dryer and more light-coloured type belongs to the French style. Vermouth de Chambéry (France) and Vermouth di Torino (Italy) are famous vermouth geographical designations with a protected status.
The most popular brands of the French vermouth are Dubonnet and Noilly Prat.
Dubonnet is named after its inventor, a French chemist. It was used for the first time in the 19th century, by soldiers in North Africa to tackle malaria problems. It is still made in full compliance with the family recipe. Dubonnet Blanc and Rouge are the two variations. Never mention to a connoisseur, but the two types may well fit a cooking endeavour. Millions of bottles are exported worldwide.
Noilly Prat has an intimate affair with the sea and wooden sailing ships. The long journeys contributed to the wine aging. Joseph Noilly introduced to the world his brand by using a technique related to outdoor and all seasons aging. That happened in the South of France in 1813. The family Noilly and the family Prat formed a common brand, registered in 1855.
Cinzano is a glamorous Italian brand, and its recipe has been kept in deep secret for more than 250 years. Bianco, Rosso (Turin-based), and Extra Dry enjoy popularity on markets like Germany, Russia, Argentina, etc. Martini & Rossi brand is also related to Turin, Italy, where three men of different professions – a businessman, accountant and winemaker – joined efforts 150 years ago to start a brand going global nowadays.
Starting a meal may be preceded by a solo drink of vermouth; in most cases, however, it is a component of mixed drinks. Differentiating dry and sweet vermouth as a vital ingredient for so many classic cocktails.
Few classic cocktails to name which you cannot make it without Vermouth:
- Classic Martinez
- Rob Roy