It’s time to talk about this great ingredient that popular taste has regulated further and further out of our cocktail glass and back into the bottle: Vermouth. I’ve seen recipes for vodka martinis that request the drink be 1/16th Vermouth. 1/16th! Which may still sound like a lot, let’s put this in perspective. An average martini is two to four ounces. For the sake of simplicity, let’s say the martini that we’re working with is 4 oz. So we’re looking at 1/4th of an ounce which is equal to about half a tablespoon. The worst part of this is for many people, this is not an extra dry vodka martini, this is a regular good old fashioned vodka martini.
This craze of the drier that better when it comes to martinis is ludicrous. I would lobby Congress for a change, but I’m afraid, in this case, the existing establishment is the problem. Supposedly, by having just the small amount of vermouth described above (or God forbid, the vermouth wash and dump,) it changes the flavor of drink to make it the cocktail.
I don’t know who these people are who are afraid of vermouth. One common excuse is that people don’t like the taste of vermouth. If you don’t like the taste of the ingredient, why is it going in the drink at all? Especially in a drink that only has two ingredients.
Do not be afraid of vermouth. Or if you are, you might want to switch to a new cocktail. I hear vodka neat is lovely. Try and spice it up. Besides, vermouth is substantially cheaper than whatever liquor you’re mixing it with. Or it should be. The only thing worse than a martini with two drops of vermouth is a martini with cheap liquor.
Experiment with an old favorite:
1 part Sweet Vermouth
1 part Dry Vermouth
- Add ice to a rocks glass.
- Add all ingredients in the rocks glass.
- Using a martini shaker, pour the drink into the shaker and back into the glass.
This is an aperitif that I really enjoy. Be warned, it is not high in alcohol content. I use Martini & Rossi vermouth and it is 36 proof or less than half the alcohol content of vodka. Definitely for you pre-dinner drinkers.
750 mL bottle of Dry Vermouth: $5 – $10
750 mL bottle of Sweet Vermouth: $5 – $10
Total Cost: $10 – $20
As always, happy and safe drinking!