PM Spirits

It’s Time to Rethink Vermouth

Nicolas Palazzi

Poor vermouth. For generations of drinkers, the bon mots of Winston Churchill and Alfred Hitchcock have banished the fortified, aromatized wine to the back corner of the liquor cabinet, precisely where it least belongs. Vermouth, after all, is more like vino than spirit. And as such, opened bottles should be refrigerated and finished in about a month.

Now, a veritable vermouth movement is afoot, as a variety of new options have become available and U.S.-based brands win over bartenders with proprietary blends. Earlier this year, spirits trade magazine Punch even declared our current era a “golden age” of vermouth.

La Quintinye Vermouth Royal Extra Dry.

La Quintinye Vermouth Royal Extra Dry.

This pale vermouth is named for Jean-Baptiste de la Quintinye, the botanist commissioned by Louis XIV to create the kitchen garden at Versailles. Intriguingly, at its base, is Pineau de Charentes, a cognac-fortified wine that’s fantastic on its own. A blend of 27 plants and spices, with notes of rosemary, sage, and lavender, makes it ideal for a 50-50 martini, using equal parts gin and vermouth.