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In Our Pantry: Dry Vermouth

Not just for cocktails, dry vermouth adds a delicious bite to weeknight stir-fries, salads, and even dessert.

What is Vermouth?

Vermouth is wine that’s been infused with botanicals -- such as herbs, roots, and barks -- and lightly fortified with a neutral spirit, like brandy. Unlike sweet vermouths (typically used in a Manhattan or Negroni), dry versions are essential to a martini (and also good sipped over ice). With their balance of acidity and sweetness, they make a great substitute for white wine in all kinds of recipes. 

Our Top Picks

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Photography by: Bryan Gardner

Martini Extra Dry is an affordable, easy-to-find option that’s great for cooking. It's the classic Italian vermouth.

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Photography by: YASU+JUNKO

Dolin is the benchmark against which French vermouths are measured. It's more complex than the Martini -- perfect for when you want the botanicals to shine through, as in the sabayon recipe below.

 

STORAGE

Don't keep your vermouth in a bar cart or cupboard along with gin, whiskey and other spirits. Like other wines, vermouth begins to oxidize once opened and so should be stored in the refrigerator.

How to use Dry Vermouth in Cooking

Next time you have to deglaze a pan, steam fish or shellfish (you know, mussels), or enliven a pasta sauce, but you don't have white wine on hand, reach for the dry vermouth. And try these recipe ideas:

 

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Photography by: Bryan Gardner

Shrimp Stir-Fry With Vermouth

When you think of a quick weeknight dinner, chances are you consider a shrimp entree or a stir-fry, or maybe think to combine those two. If you do, kudos to you and may we suggest you add vermouth to your stir fry-soy sauce mixture?

Get the Shrimp Stir-Fry With Vermouth Recipe
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Photography by: Bryan Gardner

Potatoes with Vermouth

Steam 3/4 pound small, whole round potatoes until tender, about 12-15 minutes. Then toss with 2 tablespoons dry vermouth. Use for a spin on salad Nicoise along with drained oil-packed tuna, blanched green beans, and hard-cooked eggs, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Or serve as a vegetable side. 

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Photography by: Bryan Gardner

Cocktail Onions

To garnish a Gibson, cocktail onions are essential. Make your own: bring 1/2 cup white wine vinegar, 1 cup dry vermouth, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1 tablespoon coarse salt to a boil. Pack 1 pound frozen pearl onions and 1 teaspoon each coriander seeds and black peppercorns into a glass jar. Pour in liquid and let cool completely. Cover; refrigerate 1 week before using.

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Photography by: Bryan Gardner

Vermouth Sabayon

As smooth as silk, as light as air, that's a sabayon. This etheral French dessert is made with egg yolks, wine (or champagne or muscat), and sugar, and cooked gently to thicken into a foamy custard that's served as a dessert or as a dessert sauce. You might know it under it's Italian name zabaglione when it's made with Marsala wine. Why use dry vermouth? Well you just might have a bottle open in the fridge, unlike say Champagne or muscat, and the subtle aromatics in vermouth shine in the delicate, sweet froth.

Get the Vermouth Sabayon Recipe
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