Food - Drink
Dry Vs. Red Vermouth: What's The Difference?
Vermouth is a type of aromatic fortified wine, usually infused with botanicals like artemisia, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, rhubarb, chamomile, juniper, rose petals, vanilla, and/or citrus peels. Every brand is different, but vermouth can be divided into two large categories: dry, which is always white, and sweet, which can be white but tends to be red.
Similar Origins
Steeping botanicals in wine is an age-old medical practice, but people began drinking these wines for enjoyment in the mid-1600s, when the Germans created wermut from wormwood. Red vermouth was invented by the Italian Antonio Benedetto Carpano in 1786, while the French Joseph Noilly created dry vermouth in 1813.
Unique Profiles
Dry vermouth tends to be less saccharine, with a sharper and cooler flavor that comes mainly from herbs, while red vermouth uses both spices and botanicals for a warmer quality. Both vermouths begin with a white wine base, but red vermouth gets its hue from caramelized sugar, giving it a sugar content of up to 15%, compared to 4% in dry vermouth.
Swapping Styles
Swapping one kind of vermouth for the other isn’t unheard of, but flavors can vary dramatically. If you’re out of vermouth when making cocktails, dry vermouth can be replaced with dry sherry, while red vermouth can be replaced with Madeira, Port, or sweet wine; in cooking, you can substitute white wine for dry vermouth and red wine for red vermouth.
Shelf Life and Storage
If vermouth is refrigerated, it will last about a month before the taste begins to change; you’ll know it’s no longer good when it smells like vinegar. However, vermouth that is no longer fit for drinking can still be used in cooking, and is a great choice to replace wine in recipes that involve braising, deglazing, or making sauces.