Skagit Food Co-op blog:

CV, the wine guy

CV, the Vermouth Guy…

Co-op customers have been asking for us to carry vermouth for a long time. We are happy to say that we finally have Vermouth in stock! This is an American vermouth, made by a well-established brand. We will carry both sweet and dry vermouth, both at $7.99 for 750ml.

Vermouth is an aromatized, fortified wine that is primarily known as an ingredient in Martinis and Manhattans. And while it’s easy to overlook vermouth as a “filler” (similar, perhaps, in the way one might think of baby’s breath or a fern in a floral bouquet), vermouth deserves much more credit than it is usually given. Vermouth is made by steeping botanicals in a base wine, then mixing it in brandy or another high-proof spirit. A vermouth maker’s particular recipe of botanicals, spices, citrus, and alcohol are considered family secrets and are very closely guarded. Think combinations of orange peel, anise, chamomile, cinnamon, corridor, ginger, nutmeg, quinine, rhubarb, saffron — you name it, it’s been used to make vermouth.

Dry vermouth, sometimes called “French vermouth” for its country of origin — is used in martinis. Dry vermouth is made from white wine macerated with bright-tasting ingredients such as citrus and chamomile. Sweet, or “Italian,” vermouth also has a white wine base. It is mixed with caramel, which tints the vermouth red. Sweet vermouth is used in Manhattans. (Editor’s note: Of course, you could go one step further, and go for a “Perfect Manhattan”, which uses equal parts Sweet and Dry Vermouth. The ideal? Templeton Rye Perfect Manhattan, with a lemon peel (rather than cherry).)

The word vermouth is derived from the German word wermut, which translates in English to… wormwood, the all-too-important ingredient for absinthe. When vermouth originated in Piedmont, Italy in the 1700s, it was the Italian’s answer to absinthe. Now, vermouth is enjoying a bit of a revival. Europeans have been enjoying it on its own for centuries, and Americans are starting to recognize the value of a vermouth cocktail, as well. Try Extra Dry Vermouth on the rocks, with a twist, and see for yourself!

Vermouth-savvy information was found on the Saveur website, here and here.

By: CV, The Wine Guy

CV, The Wine GuyCV is our resident wine guy and our newest cheese specialist. And he’s here to give you generous, succinct, friendly advice on wines (and cheese). CV is quick to say that he’s not a wine “expert” — he’s not the person to go to for fancy terminology — but he does know wine, and approaches it with robust energy and a desire to match wine with people, food, and experiences.