Difference Between French (Dry) Vermouth and Italian (Sweet) Vermouth

French (Dry) Vermouth vs Italian (Sweet) Vermouth

Vermouth is a tasty delight that is derived from white wine. It is a product that is aromatized, or in other words, fortified, with herbs and spices. There are two types of vermouth called sweet and dry vermouth respectively. They are mostly used as modifiers in cocktails with dry vermouth mixed Martini and a sweet vermouth mixed Manhattan being classic examples. Many people remain confused between these two flavors of vermouth. This article attempts to find out the differences between these two styles of vermouth.

Vermouth is a product that was first made in 1786 in Italy by a distiller in Italy. Antonio Benedetto Carpono mixed some herbs with white wine and called it vermouth after a similar product in Germany that used wormwood to fortify white wine. People liked vermouth very much and soon it was produced by many distillers and exported to other countries of Europe. While vermouths were earlier made to hide the poor quality of a wine or to extend its life, today these beverages are made to be consumed alone and not just to be used as mixers in cocktails. The two basic styles of vermouth are sweet and dry with both using different ingredients including herbs and spices.

Sweet Vermouth

Sweet vermouth or Italian vermouth, as the name implies, is little sweet in taste and is dark brown in color because of the addition of caramel. Because of its sweetness, this vermouth is used in sweet cocktails and served as an aperitif.

Dry Vermouth

Dry vermouth, or French vermouth as it is referred to, is a fortified wine used in dry cocktails and served as an aperitif. It has much less sugar content than sweet vermouth. It is light in color and, therefore, preferred in cocktails that are similarly shaded.

French (Dry) Vermouth vs Italian (Sweet) Vermouth

• Actually, dry and sweet vermouths are styles of the same aromatized white wine with differences pertaining to the herbs and spices being blended with the white wine.

• Dry vermouth is associated with Italy while sweet vermouth is associated with France. However, both styles of vermouth are today being produced in both Italy as well as France.

• Sweet vermouth contains 10-14% of sugar whereas the sugar content in dry vermouth is as little as 4%.

• Sweet vermouth is dark in shade because of the presence of caramel, whereas dry vermouth is light in shade.

• Manhattan is a drink that makes use of half sweet vermouth and half dry vermouth.

• Dry vermouth is used as an ingredient in dry cocktails such as Martinis.