What is Vermouth and How Do You Use It?

FR: Verm out GER: Wermut IT: Vermut SP: Vermut

‘Vermouth’ comes from the German wermut: wormwood. Although these flavoured and fortified aperitif wines are imitated in many parts of the world, the modern centre for vermouths is southern France and northern Italy. Vermouths vary from dry to intensely sweet and from white or straw-coloured to red or brown. They also vary enormously in flavour according to the maker. Vermouth is always more or less bitter, and wormwood is the basic flavouring, but other flavouring agents such as angelica root, anise, calamus, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, camomile, bitter orange peel, peppermint, orris, quassia, quinine, gentian, nutmeg and so on are used as well. As with many aperitifs and liqueurs exact quantities and details of its making are commercial secrets.

What is Vermouth and How Do You Use It? Photo Gallery

Vermouths are used as a flavouring in some dishes. Fish, particularly sole, is sometimes cooked in vermouth or served with a sauce flavoured with it.


FR: Herbe sacree, Verveine officinale GER: Eisenkraut IT: Verbena

SP: Verbena BOT: Verbena officinalis FAM: Verbenaceae ILL: Plate 9, No. 5

This is one of those herbs which, since the days of ancient Persia has been recorded as having magical, medicinal and culinary uses. Vervain is sometimes called verbena (and confused with it) and is often mentioned in old herbals. The dried leaves were used to make teas, but probably the purpose of this was entirely medicinal. Since, however, it was supposed to be particularly effective in love potions, there may be occasions when the cook would like to try it. Vervain is said to be good for the kidneys and the liver; it is also a frequent ingredient in home-made liqueurs. In North America, the common wild vervain is another species (Verbena hastata), also medicinal.

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