Fine wine has some of the finest variants, which are further used to make some of the best cocktails and liquors. Vermouth, which is both sweet and dry, is one such common variant. The dry variety brings out the bitter taste in a cocktail.
Wine has several variations. In the olden times, when preservation techniques were not that common, a certain quantity of alcohol or spirit was added to wine. Distilled beverages such as brandy, or any spirit that contained ethanol were used. Wine made from natural fruit was long-lasting.
However, the probability of foreign growth taking place in it during the aging process could not be ruled out. Since ethanol acts as a natural antiseptic, it would be added. This process, known as fortification, is usually done using distilled natural spirits that include the ones that have been distilled from grapes, sugar, beet, grain, and sugarcane. It influences the wine characteristics such as aroma, flavor, density, color, and taste. Common fortified wines include Madeira, sherry, port, marsala, and vermouth.
Vermouth is a type of fortified wine that is flavored. The flavoring agents differ from case to case, but the common agents consist of herbs such as marjoram, cardamom, cinnamon, and chamomile. Antonio Benedetto Carpano from Turin, Italy is said to be the inventor of this wine. It is further classified into two types, unsweetened and sweet vermouth.
In the sweetened variety, the sugar content is enhanced. The unsweetened one is also known as dry vermouth. The un-entertaining, rude, and bitter characteristics of this wine have given it the prefix, dry. It is used in some of the most popular drinks and cocktails. Martini recipes, Vodkatini, Gibson, and Latin Manhattan are some of the common and popular recipes employing the use of this wine.
The art of making vermouth is not that common, and hence there are very few and good brands that manufacture it. One of the most notable brands is Martini & Rossi, which is often referred to as Martini and Noilly Prat. Most brands are connoted to be inexpensive owing to the fact that almost all vermouth products are quite cheap. Given below is an elaboration of the common brands.
Martini & Rossi
This Italian company which is owned by Bacardi has several brands of this wine, which include Martini Rosso, Martini Bianco, Martini Extra Dry, Martini Rosaton, Martini D'Oro, Martini Fiero, and Noilly Prat. Every brand is a different combination of wine, herbs, and fortification. The extra dry variety for example, is medium bodied and has a dry palate with a very mild or negligible herbal essence. The common dry variety contains about 30 herbs and spices in different proportions. The common ingredients consist of Roman chamomile, sage, coriander, and allspice.
Noilly Prat is owned by Martini & Rossi, and is the French brand of liquor which was founded by Joseph Noilly, a herbalist who came up with the unique formula in 1813. This historic formula is deemed to be the 'French' dry vermouth. A regular Noilly Prat consists of an aroma of thyme, laurel, and juniper. Though this brand has been in the Bacardi-Martini family for a long time, its aroma and characteristic taste have not changed much.
Another notable brand is Cinzano, which was founded by Giovanni Giacomo and Carlo Stefano Cinzano. The brothers came up with a fascinating invention known as vermouth rosso. This wine included 35 ingredients, all of which came from the Italian alps. Rosso, Bianco, Extra Dry, and Rosé, are some of most popular varieties of this brand. The extra dry variety is popularly used in several recipes. Some common ingredients that are used in preparing the Cinzano include artemisia, gentian, cinnamon, citrus, and cloves.
Some other common brands are Boissiere, Dolin, and Andrew Quady Vya, which is often referred to as simply Vya.