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Vermouths are wine based drinks flavoured with herbs and spices, usually consumed as aperitifs. Popular brands include Martini, Noilly Prat and Dubonnet.
Antonio Benedetto Carpano is said to be a godfather of the genre. Carpano, who created the recipe for Antica Formula, was an Italian distiller who added wine to an infusion of herbs and spices and spirits. He intended the drink for the ladies of Turin and he was inspired by a German wine flavoured with wormwood.
The added herbs and spices also did wonders for masking poor quality wines, and the improved concoctions became very popular.
Today, popular brands are often drunk with mixers, as well as being key ingredients for many cocktails – the legendary Martini is a mix of gin with a splash of dry vermouth (historically Noilly Prat). The Negroni is made with equal parts gin, Campari and sweet red vermouth (often Martini Rosso).
Did you know?... ....The word “Vermouth” comes from the German for wormwood, “Wermut”.