DIY Sweet Vermouth, and What Not to do When Making Your own Sweet Vermouth

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I’ve been really excited to try my hand at making Sweet Vermouth, and very excited how it turned out. Last year, we showed everyone a wrap up of Mixology Trends and one of things that we mentioned was that Vermouth was becoming on the latest trends in the industry. There are a ton of new Vermouths out in the market right now and yes, the trend is still growing this year! For this video, we will be utilizing the Flavor Library that we made a few months back as well as some of the techniques we’ve learned for making flavored syrups.

Vermouth and bitters share a lot of common ingredients, obviously with different intensity of flavors. Both products have infused flavors in the form of botanicals and spices, they both have bitter components, and they both alcohol. If you’ve already made some bitters, try your hand at crafting your own vermouth. Watch the video for one hint of what not to do when making your own vermouth 🙂


Vermouth: Some Sweet Success, and Some Bitter Failure!


Here’s how I made our first batch of Sweet Vermouth.


Sweet VermouthIngredients:


1. One bottle red wine- Typically Vermouths are made from White wine, but I wanted a little more character and weight
2. 1 cup turbinado sugar
3. 1 orange for zest only and one orange with zest and pith (for added bitterness)
4. ½ cup raisins-
5. ¼ teaspoon Vanilla extract, or one fresh vanilla bean
6. 8 oz brandy
7. Rooibos Chai tincture to taste
8. Wormwood tincture to taste
9. Chincona tincture to taste




1. Make a syrup with half the bottle of red wine, the turbinado sugar, vanilla extract, orange zest and raisins, and allow to simmer for 5 -10 minutes.
2. Allow the syrup to cool, then combine remaining wine, all the brandy and the syrup to taste.
3. Add your Chai Tincture
4. Add your chincona or other bittering ingredient to taste
5. Add your wormwood tincture to taste

Make sure to bottle everything up and seal tightly. Place in the fridge and enjoy in your next Manhattan.


Taste Test:

It tastes like a much fresher style of Sweet Vermouth. The weight of the vermouth was pretty close to the weight I was looking for as a comparison to Carpano Antica. The flavor profile was exactly what I was hoping for with subtle vanilla notes, orange oil and spices from the Rooibos Chai Tincture.  In the Manhattan that I made, the fresh flavors of the wine were also there, but it definitely tasted like a Manhattan. I will definitely be making Vermouth again.


Things I would do differently:

  • Cook all of the wine and lightly boil it to reduce the volume by 10-20%
  • Caramelize the sugar
  • Add some sherry or port to the recipe as well to increase the oxidized quality to it.
  • Experiment with adding the spices at different stages of the cooking process.


Here is the link to Mountain Rose Herbs, the supplier that I mentioned in the video for herbal extracts.

Have you tried your hand in making your own vermouth? Let us know!

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Filed Under: Bar Ingredients, Cocktail & Bar DIY, Techniques, Video Blog

About the Author:

Chris Tunstall

Co-Founder of A Bar Above and career bartender and mixologist. I love experimenting, creating cocktails, and drinking Green Chartreuse.

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  • boozefoodfit

    Very interesting. I’m tempted to experiment with this using a sweet white wine and apple brandy. The result wouldn’t be typical vermouth, but it might be delicious.

    • That sounds really good! It sounds like it might be a bit closer to a sweet sherry – but like you said, sounds delicious!

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