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.

 

Red Vermouth Cocktail

Red Vermouth Cocktail

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.

 

cinzano-vermouth-poster

A vintage Cinzano Vermouth Poster

 

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.

 

Vintage Vermouth Advertisement

Vintage Vermouth Advertisement

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.

 

vermouth-martini

Vintage Marini Vermouth Poster

 

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.

 

Vermouth Cinzano

Vermouth Cinzano

 

cinzano-bottles

Cinzano Bianco Bottles

 

Carpano Antica Formula is the first red vermouth created by the inventor Antonio Benedetto Carpano in 1786 in Turin.

 

Carpano Antica Formula Advertisement

Carpano Antica Formula Advertisement

 

Carpano Antica Formula Bottle

Carpano Antica Formula Bottle

 

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.

 

F.lli Gancia Advertising

F.lli Gancia Advertising

 

gancia-vermouth-bottles

Gancia Dry and Rosso 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 Vermouth Advertising

Martini Vermouth Advertising

 

Martini Vermouth selection

Martini Vermouth selection

 

Martini Perfect | Unique cocktail

Martini Perfect is the perfect mix of white and red vermouths. The recipe is as simple as you can get.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 oz gin

1/2 oz dry white vermouth

1/2 oz red vermouth
The ingredients are stirred with ice and than strained into a frosted cocktail glass. You need to garnish the glass with a twist of lemon, and then serve.
Here is the what the recipe looks like in the end, but we suggest you make it yourself to taste the result!
The Perfect Martini

The Perfect Martini

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