Have you ever been in a pinch and completely out of sweet vermouth?
Disbelief, anguish, distress — we know how it can make a person feel!
Luckily, there are several great substitutes that you can use in place of sweet vermouth when creating various cocktails.
From fortified wines to additional ingredients like orange juice or cranberry juice, read on for seven very viable temporary solutions to use instead of the classic sweet vermouth.
We’ll guide you through the best alternatives with detailed flavor profiles and recipe suggestions for each substitution so that your drink recipes never suffer from a lack of sweet vermouth again!
What’s Sweet Vermouth?
Sweet vermouth is a type of fortified wine that originated in Italy.
It is made by infusing herbs and spices into white wine or red wine and then adding a sweetener.
The most common sweetener used is caramel, but other sugars can also be used.
Sweet vermouth has a characteristic sweetness and bitterness that make it unique among wines.
The history of sweet vermouth dates back to the 18th century when it was first created in Italy.
Since then, it has become popular all over the world as an ingredient in cocktails such as the Manhattan and the Martini.
Sweet vermouth is also often used in cooking, as its sweetness can enhance the flavor of many dishes.
Sweet vermouth has a sweet and bitter taste that is distinct from other wines.
Its sweetness comes from the added sugar, while the bitterness comes from the herbs and spices that are used to infuse the wine.
The texture of sweet vermouth is thick and syrupy, due to the added sugar.
Sweet vermouth can be enjoyed on its own or used in cocktails and cooking.
It is typically served chilled or over ice.
When using sweet vermouth in cocktails, it is important to note that its sweetness can quickly overpower other flavors, so it should be used sparingly.
In cooking, sweet vermouth can be used as a replacement for white wine or red wine in many recipes.
7 Best Sweet Vermouth Substitutes
1. Dry Red Wine
Dry red wine is a great sweet vermouth substitute because it has a similar taste.
It is also a good alternative because it is easy to find and usually less expensive than sweet vermouth.
The taste of dry red wine is slightly fruity and very dry.
It is not as sweet as sweet vermouth, but it can be used in the same way.
Dry red wine can be substituted for sweet vermouth in any recipe that calls for it.
To substitute dry red wine for sweet vermouth, simply use an equal amount of dry red wine in place of the sweet vermouth.
You may need to adjust the other ingredients in the recipe to account for the different tastes of the dry red wine.
2. Sweet Red Wine
Sweet red wine is a type of wine that is made from red grapes that have been allowed to over-ripen.
This results in a wine that is sweeter than most other types of red wine.
The taste of sweet red wine can vary depending on the grape variety and the level of sweetness, but it is generally fruity and has lower levels of acidity.
One of the best substitutes for sweet vermouth is dry red wine.
Dry red wine is made from red grapes that have not been allowed to over-ripen, resulting in a wine that is less sweet and has higher levels of acidity.
While the taste of dry red wine can vary depending on the grape variety and the level of sweetness, it is generally fruity and has higher levels of acidity.
If you are looking for a sweeter substitute for sweet vermouth, you can try using port or sherry.
Port is a fortified wine that is made from red grapes that have been allowed to over-ripen.
Sherry is a fortified wine that is made from white grapes that have been allowed to over-ripen.
Both wines are sweeter than most other types of wine, and they can be used in cocktails or enjoyed on their own.
Sherry is a type of fortified wine made from white grapes that are grown in the Jerez region of Spain.
The taste of sherry is unique and can be described as nutty, sweet, and sometimes even savory.
Sherry is a great substitute for sweet vermouth because it has a similar taste profile but is not as sweet.
When substituting sherry for sweet vermouth, use a 3:1 ratio of sherry to dry vermouth.
Port is a type of fortified wine that is made with red grapes.
It is typically sweet and has a strong flavor.
Port can be used as a substitute for sweet vermouth in cocktails.
When using a port as a substitute, it is important to keep the following in mind:
- The taste of port is much sweeter than sweet vermouth, so you will need to use less of it in your cocktail.
- Port is also heavier bodied than sweet vermouth, so it will change the mouthfeel of your drink.
- You may need to adjust the other ingredients in your cocktail recipe to account for the sweetness of the port.
Overall, port makes a good substitute for sweet vermouth in cocktails.
Just be sure to keep the above points in mind when making your substitutions.
5. Red Wine Vinegar
Red wine vinegar is a great substitute for sweet vermouth.
It has a similar taste and can be used in the same way.
Red wine vinegar is made by fermenting red wine.
This process gives it a sharp, acidic flavor.
It is often used in salad dressings and marinades.
To substitute red wine vinegar for sweet vermouth, simply use an equal amount of vinegar in your recipe.
You may need to adjust the other ingredients to account for the acidity of the vinegar.
6. Balsamic Vinegar
Balsamic vinegar is a type of vinegar that is made from grape juice and has a very sweet taste.
It can be used as a substitute for sweet vermouth in many recipes.
The taste of balsamic vinegar is very similar to that of sweet vermouth, so it makes a great substitution in many recipes.
The main difference between the two is that balsamic vinegar is slightly sweeter than sweet vermouth.
To substitute balsamic vinegar for sweet vermouth in a recipe, simply use an equal amount of balsamic vinegar in place of the sweet vermouth.
For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of sweet vermouth, you would use 1 cup of balsamic vinegar instead.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from fermented apple juice.
It has a strong, tart flavor and is often used in salad dressings, marinades, and pickling recipes.
Apple cider vinegar can also be used as a natural cleaning agent and disinfectant.
Despite its strong flavor, apple cider vinegar can be used as a sweet vermouth substitute in cocktails.
The acidity of the vinegar helps to balance out the sweetness of the drink, while the fruity flavor complements the other ingredients.
To use apple cider vinegar in place of sweet vermouth, simply add it to your cocktail recipe in equal parts.
There are a few different types of alcohol that can be used as a sweet vermouth substitute, depending on what you have on hand and what you’re looking for in terms of taste.
Dry red wine, sweet red wine, sherry, port, and red wine vinegar are all good options.
If you’re looking for something non-alcoholic, balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar can be used as well.
Carrie is a food writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked for some of the biggest names in the food industry, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living.
As the Editor in Chief of IntroChicago.com, Carrie oversees all of the content on the site. She also manages the team of contributing writers and editors, who help to create delicious recipes, helpful tips, and informative articles that you’ll find on the site.
A native of the Chicago area, Carrie is passionate about all things food. She loves trying new restaurants and experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen. She’s also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, so she knows a thing or two about food!