Why Vermouth Is the Best Way to Elevate Your Bar Game

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If you’ve enjoyed a cocktail in the past few weeks, you’ve likely done so in your own home, using whatever ingredients you have on hand. It’s equally likely that if you didn’t have a bottle of vermouth, your options were severely limited. Vermouth—wine fortified with a neutral spirit and flavored with an often-pungent mix of botanicals—is the critical ingredient that makes all your favorite spirits sing, the non-negotiable herbaceous note that makes martinis, Negronis, Manhattans, and any number of related cocktails more than just booze and garnish in a glass.

A fantastic beverage in its own right (pour a good, fresh sweet vermouth over ice with a sliver of orange peel and tell me I’m wrong), a solid vermouth is arguably the single most important bottle missing from many home bars and the key to elevating your at-home cocktail hour.

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