DIY Sweet Vermouth Recipe


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


  • 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



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

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  • 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


  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

This Recipe Appears In

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.)