What To Look For When Shopping For Quality Bottles Of Vermouth

If you've been unsure what to look for when shopping for quality bottles of vermouth, don't worry; you're not alone. To guide you through this intricate process, Tasting Table sat down for an enlightening conversation with Francesco Lafranconi, a master mixologist at the Rosevale Cocktail Room inside the Civilian Hotel in NYC. For vermouth lovers, Lafranconi's insights into selecting the perfect bottle of high-quality vermouth will prove invaluable. 

First, Lafranconi advises us to do a little background work. "Do your online research about the brand and style you would like to experience," he encourages. Then, he stresses how the "grape varietals" used in making vermouth and "the quality of the botanicals" are "of paramount importance for the overall quality and taste experience." This means if you want high-quality vermouth, it needs to be made with high-quality ingredients. Fair enough. 

Lafranconi also provides practical advice on vermouth pricing. He cautions against settling for cheaper options, stating, "Shy away from Vermouths under $10 retail (for a 750ml)." The reason is that, commonly, the lower the price of the vermouth, the lower its quality. Now, if you're wondering if the vermouth bottles themselves are important to consider when selecting high-quality vermouth, the answer is a resounding yes from Lafranconi. 

Avoid dusty bottles of vermouth, especially if they're clear

Francesco Lafranconi also stresses how it's not just about the vermouth inside the bottle, but also about the bottle itself. Check the bottles for dust, especially if you find vermouth in clear bottles (and dry and white vermouths tend to be packaged in clear bottles, as Lafranconi points out). He explains, "Stay away from dusty bottles on the shelf, particularly if they are exposed to direct sunlight." The dust is a sign the vermouth — which does not have same shelf life of other drinks — have remained untouched for a while, and prolonged sun exposure can adversely affect the vermouth's quality and taste.

Moreover, Lafranconi says to "Trust retailers that go through high volume or boutique high-end ones that seek the latest crafty brand." This shows the retailers care about the quality of the vermouth they sell to their clients. Moreover, it demonstrates a trust and rapport that has been built between client and retailer — all in assistance from said vermouth quality.

With these insights from Lafranconi, you now know exactly what to look for when shopping for quality bottles of vermouth. Be sure to conduct thorough research on vermouth brands, be wary of low-priced options, and be mindful of the storage conditions, especially if the bottles are clear. You'll be enjoying the best Negroni or Manhattan in no time.