Guide to Vermouth & Top Cocktails!

Got a bottle of vermouth to use up? Here are all the best vermouth cocktails worth making, using both the sweet red and dry white varieties.

Vermouth cocktails

Got a bottle of vermouth to use up? We’ve got answers. This fortified wine is extraordinarily popular in mixed drinks: but it always plays second fiddle. Why? It’s there to add body and complexity to cocktails, which it does in spades. It’s perhaps the best supporting actor of the cocktail world. Here’s more about this famous liquor, and all the best vermouth cocktails worth trying!

What is vermouth?

Vermouth is a fortified wine, or wine with liquor added to stabilize it. It was invented in the 1780’s in Turin, Italy. Today it’s drunk straight as an aperitif, or mixed in cocktails like the Negroni and Manhattan. There are two main types of vermouth: sweet (usually red) and dry (usually white). The dry variety is also used in cooking as you would a white wine.

Vermouth needs to stay cold for storage, so make sure to refrigerate it! It stays good in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

What does vermouth taste like?

The flavor of vermouth depends on the type. Here’s what you can expect from the most common varieties:

  • Sweet vermouth is subtly sweet and spicy, with a hint of bitter on the finish. The most popular sweet vermouth cocktails are the NegroniAmericano, and Manhattan.
  • Dry vermouth has a crisp tart flavor, essentially like a dry white wine. It’s used in martinis, like the Classic Martini and Dirty Martini.

Sweet white and dry red are the most common varieties, but you can also find a gamut of other types: extra dry, sweet white (also called blanc or bianco), amber, and rosé.

How much alcohol is in vermouth? It is 18% ABV (alcohol by volume) depending on the brand, so it has a low alcohol content. Compare it to 40% ABV for spirits like whiskeyrumvodka and gin.

How much does it cost?

Compared to other liquors, vermouth is affordable. You can buy a mid-priced 750 ml bottle for $10 to $15. It’s easy to find at your liquor store or online. Some good brands of vermouth? We like Martini & Rossi for sweet red, and Dolin for dry white.

And now…the best dry and sweet vermouth cocktails!

Vermouth is part of some of the most famous classic cocktails around, from the Manhattan to the Martini. Here we cover all the classics plus some lesser known vermouth drinks. The list below includes sweet vermouth cocktails with the red variety, and dry with the white variety. Ready to get mixing?

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Manhattan Cocktail

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 4.38 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Here are the secrets to the best Manhattan cocktail! Add style to your evening with this easy classic vermouth cocktail made with just three ingredients.


  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) bourbon or rye whiskey (we prefer bourbon)
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) sweet red vermouth
  • 3 dashes Angostura or orange bitters
  • Garnish: Luxardo cherry or other cocktail cherry


  1. Combine the whiskey, vermouth and bitters in a cocktail mixing glass (or any other type of glass). Fill the mixing glass with 1 handful ice and stir continuously for 30 seconds.
  2. Strain into a coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry and serve.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Vermouth Cocktails, Manhattan

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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