Vermouth Cocktails

written by Leroy Buliro 7th December 2017

Italians love their wine but their pre-dinner ”aperitivo” meant to whet a diner’s appetite, comes a close second. Vermouth, an Italian style of fortified wine, is one of the most traditional ingredients to feature on their pre-dining drinks menu

Vermouth was initially intended to be a medicine: a medicine infused with woodworm, quinine, gentian or coca leaves. It was intended to treat malaria, intestinal worms and indigestion. By the late 19th century, it had become a respectable drink and a favourite cocktail ingredient for bartenders.

The name origin of Vermouth was of German descent, “Vermut” and it means wormwood which used to be the key ingredient of Absinthe. Later, during the 17th century, Northern Italians decided to apply the Vermouth treatment to wine which they then fortified with brandy, and it is here that the drink really began to take off.

Throughout the centuries, Vermouth has always been drunk as an aperitif. In France and Italy aperitifs are alcoholic drinks that are consumed before a meal to whet one’s appetite. On its own, it can be drunk on ice with a squeeze of lemon but as a cocktail there are countless concoctions that are greatly enhanced by its presence.

Vermouth comes in different types: Dry: that is more of a bitter type alcohol Rosso: a sweet variant that does not owe its colour to the use of red wine but to an extra ingredient, caramel Bianco (White): equivalent to red Vermouth with a similar soft taste.

Vermouth Cocktail

  • 30ml of dry white Vermouth
  • 30ml of sweet red Vermouth
  • Soda water (optional)
  • Orange wedge or Lemon peel

Mix the red and white Vermouth, pour it into a cocktail glass with ice. Top with soda water then garnish with an orange wedge or lemon peel

Blood and Sand

  • 30ml of scotch whiskey
  • 30ml of freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 20ml of red vermouth
  • 20ml of cherry heering

Shake the mixture of cherry heering, whiskey and vermouth with ice. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass and top with orange juice.

Brooklyn Cocktail

  • 45ml of rye
  • 15ml of dry vermouth
  • 10ml of maraschino liqueur
  • 2 lemon wedges
  • 1 maraschino cherry

Shake to mix all the ingredients together except the cherry with ice. Pour into a cocktail glass and garnish with the cherry.



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