Don’t you just love Martinis and Manhattans? You’re probably digging it because of one of its crucial ingredients: Italian vermouth. If you have no vermouth for your cocktail or recipe, we’ve got you covered with this list of Vermouth substitutes, so read on!
Vermouth is a type of aromatized, fortified wine made of a base from unfermented wine or neutral-tasting grapes. Afterward, extra ingredients are added, such as brandy, aromatic herbs, spices, roots, and barks to fortify further and aromatize the liquor.
Then, the wine is sweetened with a cane or caramelized sugar, depending on the vermouth variety.
- Fun fact: You can find cardamom, chamomile, cinnamon, coriander, chamomile, cloves, citrus peel, ginger, and marjoram!
You can find it in sweet or dry form.
What’s a Good Alcohol Substitute for Vermouth in Recipe?
If you have none of this at home, not to worry, here’s what you can substitute for vermouth:
1. Fortified Wine
If you want something similar to vermouth regarding color and taste, we recommend using fortified wine like Madeira or Port. You can use it in many cocktails that ask for dry vermouth.
2. Dry White Wine
Dry white wine is an excellent vermouth substitute and for a reason! Vermouth is made from a white wine base, though we highly recommend using a dry white like the sauvignon blanc or Lillet Blanc, a French aperitif. While Chardonnay seems like a good option, it’s too light and has fruity notes. (*)
We recommend using equal amounts of dry white wine as a dry vermouth substitute for risotto dishes. It will enhance the creamy taste of your recipe.
If you want a sweet flavor to your dish, you can add a bit of simple syrup with the wine.
3. Dry Sherry
Sherry is a fortified wine from Spain, produced from Palomino grapes, then fortified with grape brandy. Expect a distinct briny and nutty flavor, making it one of Spain’s best wines.
You can use this as a dry vermouth substitute because of its flavor, low price, and similar characteristics. There are two kinds of sherry: Cooking sherry and dry sherry.
As the name suggests, cooking sherry is a food additive meant for cooking. Dry sherry is drinking sherry, which you can enjoy as a beverage.
Compared to dry sherry, cooking sherry contains more preservatives and salt, so you shouldn’t use this for drinking.
Dry sherry is meant for many cocktails while cooking sherry works well as a dry vermouth substitute in pork, chicken, and seafood dishes. Use equal amounts to deglaze dishes or for sauces.
Sake is a Japanese wine made through a complex process of rice fermentation. There are three fermentation stages, creating a sweet-flavored and non-carbonated beverage. (*)
We love this excellent substitute in vodka martinis, as sake has a subtle and distinct flavor with its sweetness.
Note that sake doesn’t have that acidic and crisp bite, but we appreciate its diverse style and rich texture. You can use equal amounts of sake for your recipes.
For example, you can create a sake martini, use it for meat marinades, or even in soups and desserts. Some people also use sake to replace sweet vermouth, using it as a food sweetener.
Non-Alcoholic Vermouth Substitutes
We mentioned a lot of alcoholic alternatives, but we didn’t forget those who need a non-alcoholic option for their recipe!
Here are ingredients you can use to replace dry vermouth or sweet vermouth.
5. Lemon Juice
Since dry vermouth is fortified, it has a thick consistency. Besides that, it’s very acidic, making lemon juice a good vermouth substitute.
You can use this substitute in meats and pasta, especially if your recipe calls for citrus. Other citrus juices (like lime juice) are too flavorful and strong.
That said, lemon juice can be just as powerful as lime juice if you use too much of it. You should only add half the amount as the recipe asks for.
6. Grape Juice
Grape juice is a good substitute for vermouth, but factor in its sweetness. We recommend using white grape juice as a dry vermouth substitute, while regular grape juice will do well as a sweet vermouth alternative.
Either way, when using grape juice as a substitute for vermouth, use half the amount required before adding more. Taste, test the recipe, and add more until it reaches your desired flavor.
7. Balsamic Vinegar
Balsamic vinegar is another suitable substitute for sweet vermouth. That’s because it has a fruity flavor. Like wine vinegar, use 1/3 cup and dilute it with 2/3 cup of water for every cup of vermouth required.
Use this substitute in steaks, risottos, pasta, dips, or vegetable dishes. It’s also great in salad dressings, marinades, sauces, seasoning fish, eggs, and grilled meat.
8. Wine Vinegar
Wine vinegar provides acidity to recipes, making it a good substitute. You can use either red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar.
Both types of wine vinegar work well in sauces, stews, or marinades. However, we don’t recommend using red wine vinegar in light-colored dishes to discolor them.
We suggest white wine vinegar for a dry vermouth substitute and red wine vinegar for sweet vermouth.
When using white wine vinegar, use 1/3 cup for every cup of vermouth required. As for the red wine variety, use 1/3 cup and dilute it with 2/3 cup water.
9. Chicken Stock
If push comes to shove, then we highly recommend the stock. This ingredient works amazingly in braises, reductions, soups, stews, among different dishes.
Besides chicken stock, you can also use beef, fish, or vegetable broth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are you interested in learning more about vermouth? Check out the frequently asked questions:
Wrapping It Up
Just because you have no vermouth doesn’t mean you have to skip the cocktail or dish you’re making. You can use many other substitutes, ranging from dry red wine to Lillet blanc.
We hope you found the best vermouth substitutes according to your needs! Whether you’re making a cocktail, sweet dessert, or meat dish, try any of these options and let us know how it worked in the comment section below.
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