The Cocktail: Manhattan and Sweet Vermouth

In this episode of The Cocktail, we talk about Sweet Vermouth and make a Manhattan.

Vermouths are fortified, aromatized wines. Fortified means a higher-proof spirit like brandy has been added to increase the alcohol by volume (ABV) of the wine. Aromatized means they’ve been infused with herbs, spices, and other botanicals to add flavors and aromas.

Vermouth, like bitters, was originally used as medicine. People believed that the botanicals it was infused with could balance your humours and cure you of ailments. Today, vermouths are primarily used as aperitifs or as an ingredient in cocktails.

2 oz whiskey
1 oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Lemon peel

Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker and stir with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Express lemon peel and drop into glass.

The most important thing to know about vermouth as a home bartender is that it can go bad just like wine. Store your vermouth in the fridge and use an inert gas like Private Preserve to keep your bottle fresh for more than a month. If you want to know more about storing vermouth, check out this excellent Serious Eats article.

Sweet vermouth lends sweetness to a cocktail as well as notes of spices such as cloves, cinnamon, vanilla and cardamom. Try it with whiskey to transform your liquor into a sublime Manhattan.