The Reason Your Home Bar Needs Vermouth

Vermouth is highly versatile (and highly underrated) when it comes to stocking home bars. People tend to pick up a bottle of dry vermouth to make martinis, but it can be used for so much more. With a little bit of homework, you might find enough uses for dry vermouth to keep it regularly stocked as a part of your essential home bar.

If you are not exactly sure what vermouth is, it's just wine that has been fortified with brandy or another neutral liquor. Once the spirits are combined, herbs, roots, and spices are added to give it a balanced, lightly herbaceous flavor (via Chicago Business). Vermouth can be made with white or red wine too, though white is more commonly used for martinis (via Thrillist).

Apart from drinking dry vermouth, it can also be used in a lot of cooking. Many recipes that call for white wine can use dry vermouth instead. The aromatic spirit is a great substitution with a lightly herbal addition. This is a particularly good way to use up vermouth if it hasn't been kept in the refrigerator and has soured.

Creative ways to use vermouth

There are tons of other drinks that dry vermouth can be used in. One of the most simple ways, though, is to drink it as an aperitif. Several European countries and cultures use dry vermouth this way and just add a twist of lemon for white vermouth or orange for red vermouth. It can be served straight up or on the rocks.

Another easy way to use vermouth without pulling out too many other bottles is in simple mixed drinks. In combinations like gin or vodka and tonics or wine spritzers, the liquor or wine can be replaced with vermouth. Vermouth and tonic can be used like gin or vodka would be, but for wine spritzers, vermouth is not used in equal parts to soda — instead, add about two ounces of vermouth, followed by around four ounces of soda.

Vermouth is a welcome addition or substitution in many cocktails too, and the extra effort to shake or stir these up is more than worth it. It's possible to make a white negroni, vesper, or a boulevardier, which is like a whiskey-based negroni, with vermouth. Making a half-and-half martini that lets the subtle notes of vermouth come through more is also worth trying.