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I am amazed to be writing the first DooYoo review for vermouth.
This fantastically flavoured fortified wine is a key ingredient in a martini, and is also invaluable in the kitchen.
Vermouth is a blend of wine, fruit essences, herbs and spices. The name Vermouth comes from the german word 'wermut', meaning Wormwood the original herb used in Vermouth until it was found to be poisonous!
Sweet vermouth (which is red) was produced as early as 1786. However it was in 1813 that Joseph Noilly of France produced the first dry (white) vermouth. The Noilly Prat brand still survives, and while there are many alternative producers, it is to my mind the finest of the Vermouths.
It is still made in the South of France using traditional methods. White wine is blended with fruit essences (lemon and raspberry) and over 20 herbs and spices and then matured for 8 months. The wine is then transferred to smaller casks and then exposed to the elements for a further 12 months while the flavours develop.
The flavour is quite unlike either sherry or port. You first taste a richness, that then disappears to dryness, leaving an alcoholic herbiness around the sides of your mouth.
To make a decent gin martini, I would strongly recommend you buy the Noilly Prat brand. It is more expensive, costing up to £10 for a 75cl bottle. You can get a supermarket brand for a few pounds, but you need so little of it to make Martini, it is worth paying the extra because it lasts for ages.
Mix 4 parts gin with one part vermouth and then add an olive. Add a splash of the olive brine to the drink and you then have a dirty martini, but frankly, I've never seen the point.
Use the cheap stuff for cooking. I use it all the time in risottos and when I am cooking Puy lentils. It smells wonderful and adds a herby earthness to otherwise bland ingredients.
Kept in the fridge, Dry Vermouth will keep for 6 months after opening.
A blend of white wines from the Languedoc region in the South of France.