Vermouth in our A-Z - Cooking Index
Vermouth is a fortified wine made using herbs and spices to aromatise the drink. There are three types of vermouth – extra dry, white (which is dry and slightly bitter) and red (which is sweet). You will sometimes see white vermouth called French vermouth and red vermouth called Italian vermouth, although you can buy French red vermouths and Italian white vermouths.
Vermouth was originally made from cheap white wine and the herbs were added to mask the flavour. Legend has it that the first vermouth was created by Antonio Benedetto Carpano of Turin who tried to copy a German recipe for wormwood flavoured wine; at the time the German word for wormwood was wermuth, which became corrupted to vermouth.
The most famous vermouth is Martini, although at Cooking Index our preferred white vermouth is Noilly Prat. Many people will use the word Martini as a shorthand for vermouth, which can lead to a confusion when they end up with a vodka or gin martini by mistake.