DIY Sweet Vermouth Recipe

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Sweet vermouth has a delicate balance of rich, spicy, sweet, and bitter flavors, and is an essential ingredient in dozens of classic cocktails.

Notes:

  • Wormwood leaf is a bitter herb that can be a bit difficult to find. Contrary to rumor, a little wormwood in your cocktail will not cause hallucinations. Lhasa Karnak sells it online and at their Berkeley stores.
  • Use a dry white wine for this recipe; it shouldn't be fancy, but avoid something heavily oaked. Pinot Grigio works well.
  • Use caution when you caramelize sugar, as it becomes scalding hot. If you pour a cool liquid on hot caramelized sugar, it will harden like candy.
  • Vermouth should be stored in the refrigerator and is best if used within a month. Though it will take longer than that for it to "go bad," like wine it will taste flat and develop off flavors if kept too long.

Recipe Facts

4.5

(2)

Active: 30 mins
Total: 30 mins
Serves: 25 servings

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Ingredients

  • 1 orange

  • 3 1/4 cups white wine, divided

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 teaspoon dried chamomile

  • 8 cardamom pods

  • 1 star anise

  • 1 teaspoon dried lavender

  • 1/4 teaspoon wormwood leaf

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup boiling water

  • 1/2 cup brandy

  • 1/2 cup sweet or India sherry

Directions

  1. Zest the orange and set aside the rest of the orange for another use.

  2. Pour 1 cup of the wine into a pot and set the rest aside. Add all the orange zest, cinnamon stick, chamomile, cardamom, star anise, lavender, and wormwood and cook on medium heat until it comes to a boil, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Strain out solids and return liquid to the pot.

  3. In a separate pot, pour in the sugar and cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, to caramelize it. Once sugar melts into a caramel-colored liquid, in about 5 minutes, turn off the heat and let caramelized sugar cool.

  4. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan or tea kettle, then measure 1/4 cup and slowly pour it into caramelized sugar, stirring as you pour. Be careful!

  5. Add remaining wine (2 1/4 cups) to the herb-infused wine. Bring it to a boil, then pour it slowly into the pot of caramelized sugar syrup, stirring frequently to integrate them. Add brandy and sherry, then let cool. Pour cooled mixture into a bottle, seal and store in the refrigerator.

Special equipment

zester or peeler

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
44 Calories
0g Fat
3g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 25
Amount per serving
Calories 44
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 31mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 5mg 0%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 28mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)