Do It Yourself: Sweet Vermouth

Chances are you are a vermouth fan, but are you a DIY (Do It Yourself) fan as well? If the answer is: “HELL YES!”, and if you also wandered how you could produce your own vermouth at home, well, we were thinking about you when writing this article.

In “How it’s made: Vermouth“, we explained the main steps to produce vermouth in a professional and more industrial way. Today we will try to suggest you how to adapt this process in order to be able to do everything in your kitchen.

It will not be precisely a straightforward process, there can be many difficulties in reaching a decent product, but we will try to help you from a theoretical point of view.

As said, homemade vermouth will not reach the standards of a vermouth made in a distillery. So, if you are just searching for a vermouth with a more artisanal touch than the ones easily found on a supermarket shelf, you should try vermouths like Carlo Alberto, Cocchi or Vermouth del Professore. But, if you are just passionate about DIY, we will try to guide you through the process.

Here some basic information about sweet vermouth:

  • Sweet vermouth is made for the 75% of white wine.
  • The amount of sugar per liter can vary from 100grams to almost 200g.
  • The alcoholic percentage should be around 16/20%.
  • Botanicals: Wormwood is the main one. For the rest, use your creativity.

The extraction for the botanicals can be done in many different ways, probably, the best is cold extraction.

But, for a handmade process you can choose to do the infusion in alcohol, or in a mix of alcohol and wine.

Vermout-ricetta-Poli-DistillerieBasic ingredients for homemade vermouth (Image Source)

LET’S GET STARTED

Wine selection

Historically the wine used for vermouth was Moscato d’Asti or Canellino, Italian white wines from the Turin area, very sweet and aromatic, they were used so that the vermouth would already have such aromas and sweetness.

In more modern times the standard became a more neutral white wine, with no strong aromas, in this way vermouth’s taste would be influenced just by the spices mix.

Spices selection

As said, you can use all different spices or dried fruits, there’s not a right or wrong recipe, you choose. Every ingredient will transmit its characteristic taste to the final product. Here you can find the main botanicals used and the way they influence vermouth:

Bittering agents: Wormwood, dittany, gentian, angelica, licorice, thistle, cinchona, etc.

Fruity: Orange or lemon peel, strawberry, cherry, raspberry, etc.

Exotic flavors: Vanilla, juniper, cardamom, nutmeg, coriander, star anise, cinnamon, turmeric etc.

Mediterranean herbs: Saffron, thyme, rosemary, lemongrass, sage, laurel, elder flowers, chamomile etc.

Usually the weight of each spice for one liter of vermouth is no more that 2 grams, but we suggest to start by using just around 0,5 grams of each, in order to see which is predominant and which needs to be added in higher quantity.

botanicalsBotanicals you can find in a vermouth (Image Source)

PRODUCTION

Once you selected the perfect mix of botanicals, keep it in infusion for 10/20 days. At the end of this infusion period you’ll need to filter the liquid to take out all the botanicals residual.

Now it’s time to mix everything together: wine, alcohol, extract of botanicals, sugar and caramel (caramel gives the characteristic red color to the product)

It’s still not ready to drink, first you will need to refrigerate the liquid, keep it for some days in the fridge, or outside the window, if it’s a cold winter. During the refrigeration, all the residual will gather on the bottom and with a second filtration you will be able to have a clean and clear product.

DONE!

Enjoy your homemade vermouth, next time you will be able to fine tune your recipe.

Let us know if you try to go trough this process, and which one is your perfect recipe.

Have fun!

ettoreblogMy name is Ettore Velluto, I’m a vermouth enthusiast, I like extraordinary cocktails and I’m definitely a foodie. I earned my MsC in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at ESADE Business School and at the moment I’m enrolled in the Coursera’s Social Media Marketing course.

I am planning to market my own vermouth, feel free to reach out or connect with me at https://it.linkedin.com/in/ettorevelluto or@e_velluto .

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