The Reason You Should Finish Up That Bottle Of Sweet Vermouth

Whether you like to sip your vermouth or have it served inside a cocktail, there's one thing you need to know about the bittersweet booze. Rather than leave it lingering in your liquor cabinet, you might want to think twice and finish up that bottle of sweet vermouth, sooner rather than later.

A fortified wine with a moderately low ABV content, explains that vermouth is made with a base wine that's boosted with a neutral alcohol and aromatized with botanicals such as herbs, roots, barks, citrus peels, and spices. Typically served as an apéritif, both sweet and dry varieties of vermouth have also become a key ingredient to add depth in cocktails like the Negroni or Martini. So, how long exactly have we been reaping the benefits of this delicious beverage?

According to Wine Folly, vermouth's origins can be traced back to 16th century Turin — unsurprising as the Italian city was at the heart of production for wormwood, a medicinal herb often used for aromatizing local wines. Sparking the vermouth craze was distiller Antonio Benedetto Carpano, but soon brands elsewhere in Italy, France, and Spain emerged thanks to its popularity (via Cook's Illustrated). Yet, while it remains a favorite even in the present day, many are unaware of just how exactly to store a bottle of vermouth.

After two months in the fridge, it'll start to taste off

Vermouth can really transform a cocktail with its bright hue and multifaceted flavor — that is, if your vermouth hasn't started to spoil. According to Food & Wine, sweet vermouth starts to oxidize the second that it opens, which means its characteristically herbal aroma and vibrant taste can both start to fade and turn quite dull.

That said, since vermouth is technically a wine, it should be treated like a wine. Unlike distilled booze, Bon Appétit notes that in order to preserve its integrity and quality, all types of vermouth should be kept in the fridge after being opened. However, there is a bit of wiggle room as to how long it can last.

While an opened bottle can be kept in the fridge for about two months, Tales of the Cocktail notes that should you still happen to forget about your vermouth, rather than toss it, you can cook with it. Add a splash to pan sauces, reduce it for glazes, or even evaporate it if you've got the right tools. Whatever you do, just don't drink that opened bottle of vermouth you've had on display for years, it's just not tasty.