Red/Sweet Vermouth Recipe

Some of the ingredients for home-made Red Vermouth

Following the success of our Dry Vermouth Tasting in February, we’ve decided to arrange another vermouth tasting, this time focusing on Red/Sweet/Italian Vermouth; an essential ingredient for Manhattans, Martinezs and Negronis.

Looking at the results of our last tasting, one variety that was quite popular, was the home-made variety produced by Mr. Hartley, as per the instructions in the Plymouth Martini Book.  This being the case I was keen to add a home-variety to our up-coming event and so set about creating one.

One of the big differences between Dry and Sweet vermouth is typically the type of base wine that is used (usually each base wine is actually white) the Dry using a dry wine and the Red using a sweet/desert wine. The colour of Red vermouth usually given from the herbs used or artificial colourant.

Ingredients simmering

Ingredients simmering

The three main differences with this recipe to the dry one are:

1) Sweet instead of dry wine

2) Brown/Dark Sugar rather than white

3) Use of more citrus

This is quite easy to make and I tried to exclude some of the ingredients from the Plymouth recipe that were a bit hear to come by, I’ve not yet found a wormwood substitute yet though.

The Taste

Own
Nose: sweet herbal, orange and green moss.
Taste:Sweet initially, then some more bitter herbal notes and a slightly biscuity finish. Possibly a touch too sweet but quite good and it’s recognisable as Red Vermouth.Manhattan
Vermouth blends with the rye whisky very well, making an exceptionally smooth drink with a warming herbal after taste with a touch of sweetness and a hint of citrus.

Martinez
The three ingredients mix very well together, the red vermouth adds a touch of smoothness but does not overpower the gin, orange bitters rounds the drink off  nicely

Negroni
Sweetness of vermouth balances out the bitterness of Campari quite well but the Red Vermouth could do with a bit more flavour as it is a little overpowered by the Campari.

In Conclusion
This was very worthwhile experiment and I was quite happy with results. In the future I might add a little less sugar and perhaps a little more corriander and wormwood; just to fine tune the flavours.
It’s certainly going to be one of the entries to our Red Vermouth Tasting at the end of the month.