Vermouth: Not just for cocktails

Invented in Italy in the late 1700s, vermouth is a fortified wine flavored with herbs and spices.

Before vermouth was a “cocktail ingredient capable of making or breaking a drink,” it was an apéritif meant to be drunk on its own, said Lauren Viera in the Chicago Tribune. Invented in Turin, Italy, in the late 1700s, vermouth is a fortified wine flavored with herbs and spices—”notably wormwood, from which ‘vermouth’ borrows its name.” Quality bottles can invigorate a martini or Manhattan, but they also make a simple, refreshing tipple served on the rocks with an orange twist.

Cinzano Rouge ($7)

Strong flavors of “candied citrus, cinnamon, and spice” make this vermouth far “too powerful for weaker cocktails.” Have it in a Manhattan or just on the rocks.

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Punt e Mes ($21)

With “bitter and citrus notes, like the pith of a lemon,” this vermouth should be drunk with ice and sparkling water.

Carpano Antica ($28)

“Smooth and well balanced, with a bitter edge,” this top-quality vermouth makes a great Manhattan, but can also be enjoyed on ice.

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