Sweet White Vermouth - Drink Secrets

Sweet White Vermouth

Understanding Sweet White Vermouth

Sweet white vermouth is a fortified wine that is often made from old or leftover wine. It gets its name from the German word for wormwood (wermut) that was originally used to make vermouth. Sweet Vermouth is available in both red and white, though red is the most common color of the sweet variety.

The History of Sweet White Vermouth

In 1786, Antonio Bendetto Carpano, a distiller from Turin, Italy created vermouth. He made it from white wine that he infused various herbs and spices into. He used spirit to sweeten it as a way of making a beverage that he thought the ladies would enjoy more than the red wines.

The popularity gained and soon a similar vermouth that was dry in nature was created in France. It is for this reason that sweet vermouth is referred to as Italian and dry vermouth is referred to as French.


The vermouth can be red or white, depending upon which wine it is made from. While red is the most common of the sweet vermouths, white was the original. Now, when vermouth is created there is still various spice blends used in the fortified wine. As a result, each distiller of vermouth has their very own recipe for these spices and herbs and can be as many as thirty different varieties going into a single vermouth. When you taste different brands you will notice the subtle differences from vineyard to vineyard.

Using Sweet White Vermouth

In liquor stores and in specialty kitchen stores, you can buy what is called a vermouth mister. This will apply just a small spritz of Sweet White Vermouth into the glass to slowly mix with the other alcohols that are layered in. Many people hear the word "vermouth" and instantly don't want a lot of it. However, it is quickly making a comeback and being seen in more and more restaurants and bars across the country.

Sweet white vermouth is commonly served chilled as an aperitif. It is thought that the sweetness will enhance the meal to come and open up the palate to enjoy the rich flavors to come.


It will also be used in the Manhattan, where it is most commonly known. It is seen served in either a martini glass or a rocks glass. Three-quarters of an ounce of sweet white vermouth will be mixed with 2 and a half ounces of bourbon. You will then add a dash of bitters and mix the ingredients with ice. You will then strain the liquid over a maraschino cherry and serve. A twist of an orange peel is often added to the rim of the glass.


The alcohol content in sweet white vermouth is about half of what other liqueurs are (approximately 15%) which is one of the reasons it is commonly served as an aperitif or in conjunction with other alcohols. The flavor is meant to enhance other flavors, which also adds to its popularity. Sweet vermouth can be found in any liquor store and may even be found in the grocery store because of its use in cooking.

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Drinks with: Sweet White Vermouth

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Italian Stallion

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