INTRODUCTION – The word aperitifs originated from the Latin word “Aperitivers” which means to open up. In our context, it is to open up the appetite for future courses to come. Although hunger is the best appetizer, there are alcoholic beverages that can stimulate appetite.

VERMOUTH- The most popular of all wine-based aperitifs is vermouth. Vermouth is German in origin. In the 16th century, it was not uncommon in Germany to flavor the local wines with Worm Wood. The concoction used to be called as “Wermutwein”. The word was taken over by the French and the Italians. It was immediately introduced for its medicinal properties. Production finally settled at Marseilles and Turin in France and Italy respectively. Since that time, France has been associated white and dry vermouth and Italy with red and sweet vermouth, but right now there is no national demarcation as such and both France and Italy are producing both dry and sweet styles.

Vermouth is an aromatized wine, which is fortified. The base wine is quite ordinary which is fortified with Mistelle. Mistelle is unfermented grape juice and brandy in the ratio of one part of brandy and four parts of grape juice. The other ingredients present in vermouth are aromatic herbs, sugar and of course alcohol. The herbs are angelica, angostura, aniseed, bitter almond, bitter orange, celery, coriander, Chamomile, Cinchona, Cinnamon, Clove, Cocoa, Fennel, Ginger, Gentia, Hops, Mace, Myrtle, Nutmeg, Peach, quinine, rosemary,  saffron, sage, thyme, vanilla, woodruff, etc.

Production of Vermouth– The base wine used for the production of vermouth is very ordinary. The young wines from the firm are blended to a set style. The blended wine is then matured for a period of three years. Mistelle is then added top the wine in varying proportions, sometimes to the tune of one part of Mistelle to four parts wine. On the meanwhile the aromatic herbs are steeped neutral alcohol till the correct degree of flavoring has been extracted in the alcohol. This may take place in seven days. Flavored alcohol is then added to the wine and Mistelle mixture. The entire lot is then blended in huge tanks. There are mechanical instruments present in the tank, which thoroughly agitate and raise the mixture. Some amount of rennin is added for depth and some amount of gelatin is added for clarity. The wine may be refrigerated to ensure that any tartrate remaining will form crystals and fall to the bottom of the tanks.

Types of Vermouth- There are two types of vermouth variety, the sweet red variety, and the dry white variety. The sweet variety has 130-160 gms of sugar per liter of vermouth, and dry white variety has less than 40 grams of sugar per every liter of vermouth.

Brand Names of Vermouth   

  • CINZANO (Italy): The house of Cinzano was first established by Carlo Stefano and his brother Giovanni Cinzano in 1957. Cinzano produces a dry white, a sweet red, a sweet white and a special called Antica.
  • PUNT – e –MES (Italy): This famous Italian vermouth is from the Carpano family of Italy. Punt- E- Mes history begins in 1786, in Pizza Catello in Turin where Antonio Benedetto Carpano, a well respected Bar and Restaurant owner who used to make his vermouth to fit the individual preference of the customer.
  • NOILLY PRAT (France): The house of Noilly Prat was established when Claudius prat joined hands with Louis Noilly in 1843. Both red and white varieties are produced.
  • ST. RAPHAEL (France): The house of St.Raphael was established in 1880 by a  Frenchman Dr. Pierre Jupet. Both red and gold varieties are produced.
  • Some other brands of vermouth are – Martini and Rossi, Stock, Cors, Barbarini, Ricadonna, Boissiere, Duval.

DUBONNET (France): 18% of alcohol, first fermented by Joseph Dubonnet in 1846 in Chambery of France. The red and white varieties of Dubonnet have a semi-dried taste and a full-bodied flavor. It is best when served chilled from the refrigerator or poured over the ice cubes with a twist of lemon.

BYRRH: A proprietary Mistelle based aperitif, which has a ruby red color. Byrrh is best when served with soda over ice.

LILLET: Paul and Raymond Lillet founded this term, in 1872 in a small town of Podenrac near Bordeaux. Lillet both red and white is dry and full-bodied. It is best served chilled from a refrigerator or on the rocks with a twist of lemon or slice of orange or with a splash of soda.

MISTELLE: It is also called Muter. These are sweet fortified wines produced by arresting fermentation in the wine by the addition of spirits. This process is called as Mutage. Some Mistelle are used in the production of vermouth and other aperitif wines, whereas other stand-alone as aperitifs.

RATAFIA (France): It is exactly like panache but aged in wooden cask for one year which gives an oxidized taste and color to the final product. US federal regulation prohibits the use of the word Ratafia. Hence domain Chandon calls its Ratafia as panache.

Serving and Storing Aperitifs:  It can be served either at room temperature or chilled or with plenty of fresh ice. The shelf life of the aperitifs opened and unrefrigerated is not more than 3 weeks. Therefore opened bottles are refrigerated and should be consumed within 6 weeks.

BITTERS These are the alcoholic beverages produced from distilled spirit in which bitters roots, herbs peel, etc. are incorporated & whose strength is not less than 15% v/v. The word aperitif is derived from the Latin word “aperire” which means to open. Bitter is known as Amora in Italy. They are supposed to soothe & relax the stomach after meals & aid the process of digestion.

Amer Picon (25%ABV)- It is a bitter orange-flavored liqueur. It is made steeping orange peel, quinine, spices and herbs in neutral alcohol. It is clear red and is produced in France & Italy. “Gateau Picon” of Algeria in the year 1837 first produced it.

Angostura Bitter (45%ABV)- It is a bitter liquid condiment that adds zest to drinks. Gentian and many other herbs are steeped in neutral alcohol. Dr. J.G.B. Siegert in the town of Angostura first made an angostura aromatic bitter in 1824. Originally aromatic bitters were thought to have medicinal properties. It is dark brown with an orange tint and is produced in Trinidad and Tobago. It is  enjoyed in small quantities (1 or 2 dashes) in cocktails.

Campari (23-25%ABV)- It is a bitter orange and herb-flavored liqueur. Herbs and bitter orange rind are steeped in neutral alcohol. It is clear red and produced in Italy.

Frenet Branca(40%ABV)- It is an extremely bitter herb-flavored liqueur. Aromatic plants, roots, and herbs are steeped in alcohol. It is very dark red, almost black and is produced in Italy in the year 1845.

Jagermeifter (35%ABV)- It is produced from 50 herbs like licorice, aniseed, and juniper berries poppy seeds saffron steeped in neutral alcohol. It is served in an old-fashioned glass after a meal.

Service of Bitters- Best enjoyed on the rocks, in cocktails, mixed drinks, and tall drinks. Blends well with fruit juices, club soda, 7-Up or Sprite or Sprite, fruit liqueurs, vermouth, dry gin, and vodka. It served in an old-fashioned glass with water.

Amit Kumar
Amit Kumarhttps://hmhelp.in
Hii! Welcome to My digital home, I am Amit – an almost no-code generalist, helping businesses with their online presence using WordPress and other tools and simplifying some of their operations with ideas and automation. A psychology and philosophy geek by interest and a graduate in Hospitality Management. I founded hmhelp during college, which got me into WordPress. I am a highly motivated and results-oriented professional with a proven track record of success in the hospitality industry. I’m also a Digital Marketing Enthusiast with significant academic and practical experience managing digital content across multiple platforms. Skilled at SEO optimization, developing digital content for social media platforms, I offer extensive knowledge of multiple software programs, strong attention to detail, and extraordinary communication skills. If you are interested in talking about any of the topics I have mentioned on my website, you are in the right place. You can contact me or learn more about what I do. You can also connect with me on social networks.

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