BCS: Making Your Own Vermouth


Making Your Own Vermouth

One of my favorite seminars at Boston Cocktail Summit this year was “Making Your Own Vermouth” held at Island Creek Oyster Company. Jackson Cannon who oversees the bars at Eastern Standard, The Hawthorne and Island organized the seminar.

First we tasted a commercial vermouth and then Eastern Standard’s Rose Vermouth.

smelling botanicals

exploring botanicals

We also talked a bit about the botanicals. I’m familiar with some as quite a few are used in gins and bitters. Making rose or red (sweet) vermouths tend to be easier than white or blanc vermouths. I learned you needed industrial equipment to make white vermouths.

For the Eastern Standard Rose Vermouth:

(recipe courtesy of the Eastern Standard)

  • 2.25 L rose wine
  • 250 ml ruby port
  • 2 g wormwood
  • 1 g gentian
  • 1 g oregano
  • 1 g sage
  • 1 g thyme
  • .5 g rosemary
  • 1 gvanilla bean
  • 5 g bitter orange peel
  • .7 dried ginger
  • 24 strawberries
  • Zest of 1/4 an orange (in the demo, they used zest from half an orange)
  • 600 g sugar
  • 500 ml brandy or grappa
making your own vermouth

you have to watch the process carefully


1) Slice strawberries and place in a jar or bottle with brandy. Fruit must be completely covered by brandy or it may spoil. Let stand for 2 days.

2) Bring  herbs and spices to a boil with 750 ml of the wine. — It was recommended to use grenache or something similar.

3) Add port to wine with herbs and spices.

4) Dissolve sugar with 1-2 tsp of water over heat and bring to a caramel that is the color of peanut butter (make sure the sugar doesn’t burn– about 30-40 minutes). Remove from heat and add infused brandy immediately and carefully. Mix thoroughly until sugar is dissolved in brandy. Use a heat safe spatula and never a whisk.

5) Pour remaining 1.5 L wine into the large container and add herb-spice-wine-port mixture. Add sugar-brandy mixture and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

6) Microplane orange zest into container.

7) Let sit in refrigerator until cold.

8) Strain and bottle.

Vermouth is now ready.  Time to make a cocktail!

 The Rose

  • 1 oz Plymouth Gin
  • 1 oz Rose Vermouth
  • 1/2 oz honey syrup
  • 1/2 oz lime juice

shake, strain up

lemon twist (in & out)

We received a baggie of botanicals to make the rose vermouth along with an instruction book with this recipe. There were also a few variations plus cocktail recipes using the vermouths. I have yet to make my own vermouth at home. It almost seems easier to go out to get a drink! So… let’s go to my “home bar,” Drago Centro.

I’m happy to see LA bartender Jaymee Mandeville at Drago Centro is making her own rose vermouth and uses it in her Bijou variation called Kissing Cousins (Nolet’s Dry Silver gin, housemade rose vermouth, yellow chartreuse, Fees bros. grapefruit bitters, Scrappy’s lime bitters).

Drago Centro - Kissing Cousins by Jaymee Mandeville

Drago Centro – Kissing Cousins by Jaymee Mandeville

A full write-up on the new Winter cocktails at Drago Centro coming soon! In the meantime, I predict making your own vermouth to join the ranks of making your own bitters, tinctures and even gins as the next big thing.

Boston Cocktail Summit

Island Creek Oyster Company

Eastern Standard

The Hawthorne

Drago Centro


© The Minty // LA Cocktails  2012


4 thoughts on “BCS: Making Your Own Vermouth

  1. Can you explain what you mean when you say you need industrial equipment for white vermouth?
    I would imagine it wouldn’t be much different than making other fortified infused wines.


      • Interesting…
        Well, in any case, I’m going to be making the Rose vermouth recipe today.
        Thanks for posting it.
        After gathering the botanicals, I’ve got more than enough to play around with some white.
        I’ll let you know how it goes.

        Thanks for posting this, I’m really looking forward to trying it in a couple of days!


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