Aperitifs, Vermouths and Amari

 aperitif wines, vermouths and amari

DIFFERENT STYLES OF VERMOUTH AND ITS ORIGINS

If you want to understand Vermouth, first of all, you need to see a bigger picture that Vermouth belongs to the same category as Sherry or Port which are Fortified wines.

Fortified wines are wines to which small percentage of alcohol has been added.

-Now let’s get closer to the description because Vermouth is also part of the subcategory called Aromatised wines which are wines that have been infused with botanicals (herbs and spices) for flavour and colour.
– And lastly, we can also distinguish Vermouth from other Aromatised wines due to its being flavoured with “Artemisia Absinthium” Wormwood.

The word Vermouth is derived from the word wormwood which is one of the key elements in order to be called Vermouth.
From the historical point of view modern Vermouths originated in Italy(Torino) and France(Chambery) although it has never been officially categorized this way but many cocktail books refer to French vermouth as a Dry Vermouth and Italian as a “red” Sweet Vermouth but of course today producers in both countries produce Dry and Sweet styles.

Today Vermouths are still categorised as a Dry and Sweet with a medium-sweet addition of Bianco Vermouth.

All the vermouth brands can be distinguished by their unique botanicals, flavour profiles and the level of sugar Extra Dry, Dry, Semi-Dry, Semi-Sweet or Sweet.

Comparison of Sweet Vermouth brands with tasting notes and cocktail recipes

Comparison of Dry Vermouth brands with tasting notes and cocktail recipes

How to serve and store Vermouth

Vermouth can be enjoyed as an aperitif or mixed in many classic cocktails.
Although Vermouth has a much higher percentage of alcohol than wine but because its alcohol content is lower than most of the spirits it will begin to oxidise once it has been opened and exposed to the air. So I would highly recommend storing your Vermouth in the fridge.

FORTIFIED WINES SHERRY AND PORT

Fortified wine means wine to which distilled spirit (usually neutral grape-based) has been added during(Port) or after fermentation(Sherry) depending on how sweet you want the finished product to be.
During the fermentation yeast converts the grape’s natural sugars into ethanol and carbon dioxide. So, when a distilled spirit is added to the fermenting liquid, the flavour and alcohol content doesn’t continue to evolve.

SHERRY

A fortified wine from the Jerez region of Spain. Sherry has gone through a revival in recent years and is currently becoming more popular than ever for bartenders to use in cocktails.
Its use in a cocktail doesn’t have to be limited only to small amounts, as it can also be a brilliant base ingredient.
There are different types of Sherry which can differentiate from each other based on fortifying and ageing, a process which influences flavour, body and level of sweetness.

PORT

A sweet fortified wine which comes from the area of northern Portugal Douro Valley. Port is usually stereotyped as a post-meal drink but can be also used in a range of different cocktails with its chocolate and spice notes.

There are different styles of Port each with its own characteristics and flavours.

AROMATIZED WINES

Aromatized wines are fortified wines that have been infused with botanicals (herbs and spices) for flavour and colour.

There are a number of aperitif wines such as Quinquinas and Americanos that aren’t exactly vermouth but have a lot in common in terms of botanicals and a method of production.

AMARO: Different styles of Italian bitter liqueur

Amari (plural for Amaro) actually means bitter in Italian. These bitter Italian liqueurs as a group are extremely diverse and can be used or served in many different ways.
Although there is a bitter component included in all Amari brands they typically balance the bitterness with a certain level of sugar so the result is bittersweet taste.

Amaro is commonly drunk as an aperitif before a meal or after a meal as a digestive, but they can also make a difference in many cocktails.

Amari are traditionally made by macerating botanicals (herbs, roots, barks, flowers, spices) in alcohol which can be either neutral spirit, brandy or in some cases wine.

Different styles of Amari can be based on a different body, colour, level of alcohol content(16%-40%ABV) or flavour profile (botanicals, the level of sweetness and bitterness).

 

Comment down below what is your favourite Aperitif wine, Vermouth or Amari brand and why?

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