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Noun: an aromatized white wine in which herbs, roots, barks, bitters, & other flavourings have been steeped.
Far more than just an ingredient in a few classic cocktails. Vermouth is a fortified wine flavoured with various botanicals - roots, barks, flowers, seeds, herbs, & spices. The name comes from ‘Wermut‘ (the German word for wormwood), as historically all vermouth was made using wormwood, which was responsible for giving vermouth its characteristic bitterness.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
Like many alcoholic drinks, being vermouth’s exact originator is a much-battled title. However one this is clear. Vermouth, such as Dutch Genever, for example, was originally drunk for its medicinal properties and rose to popularity in the 19th century. The cities of Chambéry & Turin have been jostling for the title of the birthplace of vermouth for a long time now, following the division of the Duchy of Savoy between France and Italy in the 19th century.
HOW IT'S GOING
Recent years has seen an increase in the number of producing countries beyond Italy, France and, to a lesser extent, Spain. Countries such as Australia, the US and the UK each now have several producers; London distillery Sacred has been producing vermouths for some time, first supplying Duke’s Hotel, followed by a general release. The range now consists of English Dry Vermouth, English Amber Vermouth & English Spiced Vermouth, all made with a base of wine from Gloucestershire.