8 Vermouth Cocktails To Serve to Your Guests

Posted by Helena Hambrecht on

There is nothing better than having guests over for dinner parties or drinks and games. Having a fun night in with friends is a great way to get to know people better, have fun, and grow closer.

If you really like to have fun, your get-togethers are also an opportunity to feature inventive cocktails that are delicious, different, and exciting. Having a new cocktail of the evening is a great way to bring a little party to any small gathering.

If you want to offer something unique, consider delving into the realm of vermouth cocktails. Vermouth is featured in many classic cocktails that don’t get much attention nowadays, despite being a delicious opportunity to experiment.

To help you expand into vermouth cocktails, we have compiled a few recipes for you to get inspiration for crafting your own vermouth cocktails to serve to your guests.

What Is Vermouth?

Before we get into the cocktails we love, we thought you might want a little refresher on what vermouth is in the first place. Many younger drinkers aren’t familiar with vermouth, and having a little knowledge always leads to additional appreciation.

Vermouth is a type of fortified wine flavored with botanicals, spices, herbs, fruit, and other ingredients. It is fortified with stronger alcohol, typically brandy, to bring the ABV up. This places vermouth slightly above a wine in ABV but still below the ABV of hard liquor.

Every vermouth is flavored and spiced differently from each other, meaning that each brand and mix of vermouth is unique and can have its own flavor profile that’s different from all other vermouths. This means there is a lot of variety in the world of vermouth, which can be great for experimentation.

There are two main types of vermouth which are very different from each other and cannot be confused when mixing vermouth cocktails: dry vermouth and sweet vermouth.

What Is Dry Vermouth?

Dry vermouth is also sometimes called white vermouth or French vermouth. It originated in France and is typically a color between clear and pale yellow, depending on the brand.

Dry vermouth is very dry, meaning it is not sweet. Dry vermouth typically has 5% or less sugar content. Dry vermouth is also typically flavored with herbal and botanical elements like hibiscus and elderflower, as well as with citrusy flavors.

What Is Sweet Vermouth?

Sweet vermouth, also known as red vermouth and Italian vermouth, originates from Italy and is red or dark orange in color. Sweet vermouth is much sweeter than dry vermouth, containing 15% sugar content or more.

Sweet vermouth is typically flavored with darker spices and herbs and often has a vanilla component which helps sweet vermouth pair nicely with darker spirits like whiskey.

The 8 Best Vermouth Cocktails To Serve to Your Guests

Now that you know about the two main types of vermouth, we are ready to start building some delicious vermouth cocktails that you and your guests are sure to love.

1. The Martini

If we had any other vermouth cocktail at the top of the list, it would just feel wrong. The martini is the ultimate vermouth cocktail, featuring dry vermouth and gin or vodka. The gentle floral notes in the gin mix with the dry punch of the herbs in the vermouth.

While the classic martini is quite simple, and a lot of drinkers find it pretty unapproachable, there are many variations to the martini that can bring more fun flavors into the action. We are going to start with a simple recipe before giving you a few ideas for alternatives.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces of gin or vodka
  • 1 ounce of dry vermouth
  • A dash of orange bitters

Directions:

In a mixing glass, combine your gin or vodka and dry vermouth. Add ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Optionally garnish with a twist of lemon or an olive, and serve.

The martini is simple, straightforward, and classic. But if you prefer an alternative with a slightly different flavor profile, try swapping out the dry vermouth for our Citrus Flower apéritif.

Citrus Flower is one of our most popular apéritif offerings. It is a lemon-forward apéritif with a hint of elderflower. It brings an herbal, floral element that is delectable with gin or as a note with your vodka in a martini.

2. The Boulevardier

If whiskey is typically the choice for your crowd, then the boulevardier is a great cocktail to bring into the mix. The boulevardier is a classic whiskey-based vermouth cocktail that is a take on the Negroni, which we will get into more later.

A boulevardier is built with a base of American whiskey (typically bourbon but rye is more than welcome), followed by sweet vermouth and Campari for a bitter note. If you have never tried a boulevardier before, give it a go before discounting it; it might quickly become your favorite.

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ ounce of bourbon or rye whiskey
  • 1 ounce of Campari
  • 1 ounce of sweet vermouth

Directions:

Combine your whiskey, Campari, and vermouth in a mixing glass with ice, and stir until well chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass with a fresh cube of ice, optionally garnish with a twist of orange peel and serve.

The boulevardier also leaves the door open for many potential alterations to bring new flavors into the mix. If you prefer a fruitier taste, try swapping the Campari for our Haus Spiced Cherry apéritif.

Spiced cherry is a fruit-forward cherry apéritif, which is baked with warm anise seed and pepper to mellow it out.

3. The Negroni

The most controversial vermouth cocktail out there is the Negroni. Some drinkers swear by the Negroni as one of the best drinks out there, while others are just as vocally opposed to the Negroni.

The Negroni certainly packs strong flavors that can be overwhelming for some, but we love the complex tastes that make up a Negroni. Negroni’s are traditionally made with equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, which together bring an herbal, vanilla, bitter fruit combo that is the perfect cocktail hour sipper.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce of gin
  • 1 ounce of sweet vermouth
  • 1 ounce of Campari

Directions:

In a mixing glass filled with ice, combine your gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari and stir until well chilled. Strain into a rocks glass with ice and optionally garnish with a twist of orange peel.

The gin allows the floral and sharp notes of the vermouth to sing out and is tempered by the Campari, which is often an accompanying ingredient with vermouth. To play with your Negroni, you can replace the sweet vermouth with Haus Pomegranate Rosemary apéritif.

Pomegranate Rosemary packs a tart and citrusy grapefruit initial note, followed closely by the herbaceous and woody rosemary, which plays very well with the juniper in your gin and the bitter flavors of Campari.

4. The Manhattan

Whiskey drinkers can rejoice: you already have another vermouth cocktail that you can try too. The Manhattan is basically an old fashioned with a little bit of vermouth for some added fun. The Manhattan is basically the whiskey version of a martini.

Manhattans are a light and delicious way to introduce non-whiskey lovers to the dark side. And just like the martini, because of its simplicity, playing with vermouth alternatives and other apéritifs can bring extra inventiveness to your cocktails.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces of rye whiskey
  • 1 ounce of sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 1 dash of orange bitters

Directions:

Combine the whiskey, sweet vermouth, and both bitters in a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe glass without ice. Optionally garnish with a maraschino cherry and serve.

5. The San Gennaro

The San Gennaro cocktail is one that many drinkers, even vermouth diehards, have never heard of, despite being delicious beyond belief. The San Gennaro is perhaps less well known in part due to its inclusion of amaro, another type of liqueur that is flavored and spiced.

Amaro originated in Italy, and technically, vermouth is a type of amaro by some definitions. Amaro, like all vermouths, has a varied flavor profile depending on the brand and maker of the bottle.

By playing with the amaro and the vermouth in a San Gennaro, you can create some pretty inventive takes on the San Gennaro cocktail that can showcase the playfulness and fun that vermouth is supposed to bring to drinks.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce of rye whiskey
  • 1 ounce of Averna amaro
  • 1 ounce of sweet vermouth
  • ½ teaspoon of Campari

Directions:

In a mixing glass filled with ice, combine your whiskey, Averna, sweet vermouth, and Campari, and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe and optionally garnish with a maraschino cherry.

6. The Bijou Cocktail

The Bijou Cocktail is another lesser-known vermouth drink that is just as delicious as it sounds. The Bijou cocktail was first documented in the incomparable Bartender’s Manual by Henry Johnson, a cocktail book from 1900.

The Bijou cocktail features gin, vermouth, and green chartreuse to create a sippable and delightful drink. The green chartreuse is a key feature of the drink, which gives the cocktail its notorious sweet apple and mint notes.

The cocktail is named “bijou,” which means jewel, or jewelry, because of its jewel-toned color.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ ounces of gin
  • 1 ounce of sweet vermouth
  • ¾ ounce of green chartreuse
  • 2 dashes of orange bitters

Directions:

Combine your gin, sweet vermouth, green chartreuse, and orange bitters in a mixing glass filled with ice and stir until chilled. Strained into a chilled coupe glass and optionally garnished with a maraschino cherry.

7. Martinez Cocktail

The Martinez Cocktail is another addition to our list that starts out just like a martini. You can enjoy your Martinez cocktails with gin if you prefer to bring the juniper flavor profile in, or the more mellow vodka.

The Martinez cocktail varies in that the classic martini is a dry vermouth drink, but the Martinez calls for sweet red vermouth. Then the Martinez throws in a cherry punch with just a touch of maraschino liqueur that gives just a touch of sweet and rich fruit flavor to the back end of the cocktail:

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ ounces of gin
  • 1 ½ ounces of sweet vermouth
  • ¼ ounce of maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes of angostura bitters

Directions:

In a mixing glass filled with ice, combine your gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and bitters, and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe glass, and optionally garnish with a twist of orange or maraschino cherry.

8. The Harvard

And the eighth and final cocktail on our list of vermouth cocktails that your guests are bound to love is the Harvard. You don’t have to go to an Ivy League to enjoy this cocktail, that’s for sure.

The Harvard is the first cocktail on our list that features cognac as the main component, which helps to bring out a spicy sweetness that many drinkers love. If you are a fan of brandy or cognac, this may just be your new favorite way to enjoy it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ ounces of cognac
  • 1 ½ ounces of sweet vermouth
  • ½ ounce of simple syrup
  • 3 dashes of Angostura bitters

Directions:

Combine your cognac, sweet vermouth, simple syrup, and bitters in a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir until well chilled and strain into a chilled Nick and Nora or coupe glass.

Vermouth Cocktail Takeaways

You now have eight recipes and alternatives for vermouth cocktails that we love and know that you and your guests will love too.

The key is remembering that cocktails are supposed to be fun and inventive. Play around with any and all of these recipes. Our Haus apéritifs are a great place to start with getting inventive with vermouth alternatives.

Try a few recipes and let us know what you like best, or share your very own recipe for a vermouth cocktail that we should try.

Sources:

What Is Vermouth? | The Spruce Eats

What Is Vermouth And What Does It Taste Like? | Mashed

10 Things You Didn't Know About Amaro, The Bitter Liqueur Of Your Dreams | Food Republic