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Once confined to the back of your booze cupboard, vermouth is now the star of the show at a handful of London bars. But what even is vermouth?
The fortified and aromatised wine was invented in Italy – and like many a drink, it was originally made for medicinal purposes, until its deliciousness caught on. Best enjoyed as an aperitif or as part of a cocktail, vermouth is made from a base wine that’s fortified by adding alcohol – typically brandy – before the drink is sweetened and flavour is given from botanicals and spices. Historically, the two main types of vermouth are sweet and dry – essentially, red and white. But more recent experimentation around the world (not just in Italy and France) has produced all sorts of styles of the drink.
In London, it might not be as common to order a vermouth at the bar as it is in Venice or Barcelona, say. But it’s catching on (yep, vermouth is on fire) and is best enjoyed at this host of wine bars and cocktail spots – where you’ll find it served chilled, mixed with tonic for a V&T or shaken into an unforgettable cocktail. These are your vermouthers and shakers.