The king of aperitifs
The aperitivo is a ritual in Italy, especially on spring and summer evenings. The breeze is light, the sky is clear, the streets are bright with flowers and friends and coworkers chat with drinks in hand. It’s aperitif time and, in Italy, most cocktails are made with vermouth. While vermouth might often take second seat to vodka, gin and rum, it is a major ingredient in many of the most popular drinks we order. As we sit here sipping on a Negroni, just one of the Italian vermouth-based cocktails growing in popularity around the world, we thought we would share with you some of the history of this legendary spirit.
The History of Vermouth
Vermouth, invented in Turin by Antonio Benedetto Carpano in 1786, is a fortified wine flavored with many botanical ingredients including herbs, roots, flowers and spices. The word ‘vermouth’ comes from ‘Wermut’, a german word used to indicate a type of wormwood that was an ingredient for many drinks. While originally it was used as a medicinal cure for stomach disorders and intestinal parasites, in the late 19th century it became an important ingredient for many cocktails.
Part of the reason vermouth has become such a mainstay of cocktail recipes has to do with its versatility. Vermouth is the ideal cocktail mixer, a great aperitif and also acts as a substitute for white wine in cooking. There have traditionally been two types of vermouth, dry and sweet. While both have between 16% and 18% alcohol by volume, sweet vermouth has a sugar syrup added before the wine is fortified with extra alcohol.
Famous Italian Vermouth Brands
The most famous Italian Vermouth producers are Cinzano, Carpano Antica Formula, Gancia and Martini. These companies export the vermouth all over the world to places such as Argentina, Brasil, Europe and USA.
Cinzano vermouth dates backs to 1757. The spirit is made with aromatic plants from the Italian Alps and 35 more ingredients. It became very popular among the aristocratic classes of Turin, including the Italian adventurer Giacomo Casanova.
Carpano Antica Formula is the first red vermouth created by the inventor Antonio Benedetto Carpano in 1786 in Turin.
Gancia vermouth represents a reinvention of the original vermouth recipe. Carlo Gancia used moscato (a sweet Italian white wine) as a base for the herb infusion in order to achieve a sweeter vermouth.
Martini&Rossi is probably the most important vermouth company in Italy. It is famous all over the world for its Martini brand of red and white vermouth.
Martini Perfect | Unique cocktail
Martini Perfect is the perfect mix of white and red vermouths. The recipe is as simple as you can get.
2 1/2 oz gin