Vermouth Cocktail

Vermouth gets a starring role in this sweet, floral and fruity blockbuster of a cocktail.

Vermouth Cocktail

Anyone who has ever enjoyed a variety of cocktails has more than likely come across vermouth. If you’ve sipped a Martini or Manhattan (the list goes on and on), then you definitely have enjoyed the lynchpin these beverages have in common: Vermouth. Even if you’re not a big drinker or only have one or two regular cocktail recipes in your arsenal, chances are that there’s a bottle of dry vermouth in your home bar.

There’s three types of vermouth to choose from, and each is usually used in specific mixtures based on the flavor profile. A rosso, or sweet vermouth, is red in color, and very sweet like the name implies. These are often used in drinks like the Negroni or Americano. Both recipes call for the bitter liqueur Campari, and the sweet vermouth balances out the bite. A dry vermouth tastes just like its name, and is more herbaceous and crisp, making it a perfect ingredient for Martinis.

A blanc, or white vermouth, is a little sweeter than the dry, but not as much as the rosso. Pale in color and a little smoother, I find the white vermouth to be the most versatile of the bunch. I make my Martinis with it, as substituting this for the rosso vermouth is a great option for folks who want to cut the sweetness a little, but keep the smooth.

The Vermouth Cocktail, the drink we’re making tonight, showcases the sweet version of the fortified wine front and center. With dashes of bitters, simple syrup and maraschino liqueur (or you can use Grand Marnier), this full-bodied tipple is the perfect sipping companion on a quiet evening.

Is Vermouth a Good Base?

So it seems that vermouth is used primarily as a support spirit to more prominent base liquors in any given cocktail. That’s how a lot of folks view this ingredient. But what many people aren’t aware of is that every type of vermouth can be enjoyed on its own, or used as the primary ingredient, such as in the drink we’re looking at today. You can even pour any vermouth you like over ice and top with tonic or club soda. These light and refreshing sippers can sneak up on you too, going to your head fairly quickly if you’re not careful.

What is the Best Vermouth to Use in a Vermouth Cocktail?

I used to get the most cost-effective (cheapest) vermouth when I’d do my spirit shopping. I’d think, since I’m only using a little here or there in whatever cocktail I’m making, that it wasn’t as important an ingredient as say gin or vodka. But I was very wrong. A friend educated me on the subtle treasures of a good vermouth, and once I started mixing with them… well, the proof was in my glass. From then on, whatever I spent on the other liquors I was buying, I’d show the same respect for the vermouth. If you’re unsure what brand to choose, I was recommended Dolin, and it has been my go-to ever since.

Vermouth Cocktail
Servings 1 serving
serving 2 minutes


  • 2 ounces sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes maraschino liqueur or Grand Marnier
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1-2 dashes simple syrup to taste
  • Twist of lemon peel for garnish


  • Combine 2 ounces of sweet vermouth, 2 dashes of maraschino liqueur (or Grand Marnier), 2 dashes of Angostura bitters, and 1-2 dashes of simple syrup in a mixing glass.
    Vermouth Cocktail
  • Fill the mixing glass with ice and stir the mixture well until chilled, which should take about 20 seconds.
    Vermouth Cocktail
  • Strain the chilled mixture into a cocktail glass that has been previously chilled.
    Vermouth Cocktail
  • Garnish with a twist of lemon peel by twisting it over the drink to release the essential oils, and then dropping it into the glass.
Vermouth Cocktail

FAQs & Tips

Vermouth Cocktail

Similar Drinks to the Vermouth Cocktail

Vermouth is the unsung hero in a number of famous and classic cocktails, some of which have been around a hundred years or more. Twist & Toast has the best recipes for any drink you’re curious about that features the brilliant and underrated ingredient. Check out some of them below:

  • Classic Negroni – Sweet vermouth adds a sublime balance to the gin and Campari in this beautifully biting cocktail.
  • Manhattan – The always reliable Manhattan is another staple that features sweet vermouth.
  • Gin Martini – I tell you about this cold and brisk cocktail that stays dry through every sip.
  • Americano – Sweet vermouth, Campari and club soda come together for a bright and slightly bittersweet cold treat.

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