Vermouth is a white appetizer wine flavored with as many as thirty to forty different herbs, roots, berries, flowers, and seeds. There almost as many vermouth formulas as there are brands.

Dry (French) vermouth is light gold in color and has a nice nutty flavor. Sweet (Italian) vermouth is red, richer in flavor, and somewhat syrupy. Both are perishable and will lose freshness if left out too long in an open bottle. Be sure to refrigerate vermouth, and use it carefully when mixing drinks, as most people now ask for drier cocktails.

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Vermouth's most famous moment is as the lesser part of a martini (esp. gin martini). The portion of vermouth defines how wet the martini is, and most people prefer dryer martinis.

It has been noted that an ideal gin martini is a glass of gin drunk whilst looking at a picture of vermouth.

Along similar lines, during one of the early atomic bomb tests, a bottle of vermouth was strapped to the device so that in the future, all one need do to make a perfect dry martini would be to hoist a glass of gin to the sky. Bear in mind that the authenticity of this anecdote is in doubt, as I can't remember where I read it.

Vermouth's second most famous use is simply as a cooking wine.

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