Vermouth and bitters share a lot of common ingredients, obviously with different intensity of flavors. Both products have infused flavors in the form of botanicals and spices, they both have bitter components, and they both alcohol. If you’ve already made some bitters, try your hand at crafting your own vermouth. Watch the video for one hint of what not to do when making your own vermouth 🙂
Vermouth: Some Sweet Success, and Some Bitter Failure!
1. One bottle red wine- Typically Vermouths are made from White wine, but I wanted a little more character and weight
2. 1 cup turbinado sugar
3. 1 orange for zest only and one orange with zest and pith (for added bitterness)
4. ½ cup raisins-
5. ¼ teaspoon Vanilla extract, or one fresh vanilla bean
6. 8 oz brandy
7. Rooibos Chai tincture to taste
8. Wormwood tincture to taste
9. Chincona tincture to taste
1. Make a syrup with half the bottle of red wine, the turbinado sugar, vanilla extract, orange zest and raisins, and allow to simmer for 5 -10 minutes.
2. Allow the syrup to cool, then combine remaining wine, all the brandy and the syrup to taste.
3. Add your Chai Tincture
4. Add your chincona or other bittering ingredient to taste
5. Add your wormwood tincture to taste
Make sure to bottle everything up and seal tightly. Place in the fridge and enjoy in your next Manhattan.
It tastes like a much fresher style of Sweet Vermouth. The weight of the vermouth was pretty close to the weight I was looking for as a comparison to Carpano Antica. The flavor profile was exactly what I was hoping for with subtle vanilla notes, orange oil and spices from the Rooibos Chai Tincture. In the Manhattan that I made, the fresh flavors of the wine were also there, but it definitely tasted like a Manhattan. I will definitely be making Vermouth again.
Things I would do differently:
- Cook all of the wine and lightly boil it to reduce the volume by 10-20%
- Caramelize the sugar
- Add some sherry or port to the recipe as well to increase the oxidized quality to it.
- Experiment with adding the spices at different stages of the cooking process.
Here is the link to Mountain Rose Herbs, the supplier that I mentioned in the video for herbal extracts.