What is vermouth?

by Bolney Wine Estate Limited July 20, 2020

What is vermouth?

Here at Bolney, we love vermouth! But something we get asked a lot is what vermouth actually is, and how it should be drunk.

Is there alcohol in vermouth? and what type of alcohol is vermouth?

Yes! Vermouth is a fortified wine flavoured with botanicals. It traditionally comes in two varieties; dry white vermouth and sweet red (rosso) vermouth. Dry vermouth is famously used to make Martinis, whilst sweet vermouth, like ours, is used in cocktails such as Manhattans and Negronis - so you've probably tried vermouth before if you're partial to a cocktail or two.

How is Vermouth made?

To make our Rosso Vermouth we first take our base wine and fortify it with ethanol and sugar. Next we “steep” the botanicals in that fortified wine. We use a mixture of roots, leaves, herbs, spices and fruits (including sloes and elderberries foraged from our Vineyards). The beauty of these foraged berries is that before we used them in our Vermouth they were going to waste every year, so it's great to have found a use for them.

We're always looking to try something new at Bolney, and coupled with our passion for fine wine and spirits, we thought a vermouth would be the perfect accompaniment to our range. Bolney Rosso Vermouth is made in our English winery at our estate and was unique in being the very first Sussex Rosso Vermouth. Many years ago, we were the earliest vineyard in the UK to produce a commercially made English Pinot Noir, so we felt perfectly positioned to use that experience to create a quality Rosso Vermouth.

At Bolney we have an abundance of sloes and elderberries growing in our hedgerows each year and those that were not eaten by birds sadly went to waste. So we were thrilled to find a way to use them in a Bolney product.

What is the flavour of vermouth?

Our vermouth has rich, delicious hedgerow fruit flavours with floral herb, eucalyptus notes and the classic aroma of wormwood. So it tastes like a slightly sweet, rich red wine with subtle herbal and spicy tones.

We are delighted that our vermouth has also been recognised in the industry. We were awarded a silver medal for our vermouth at the World Vermouth Awards. The judges described the taste as 'Blackcurrant wine on the nose; also notes of brown sugar, baking spices, and dried fruit. Herbal with warm woody flavours, and the unmistakable presence of rosemary and thyme which gives it a savoury edge'. We were also featured in The Independent's esteemed guide to 'The best summer aperitifs to drink now'.

Rosso vermouth originated in Italy, and whilst many of us won't be able to head there for our holidays this year, there's nothing to stop us bringing a touch of Italy here! 

How to enjoy Vermouth

Enjoy vermouth in a cocktail

Monica, our Customer Service Provider, finds vermouth is the perfect base for a cocktail. We have lots of recipes for you to try at home, from sweet to savoury and everything in between. Monica's favourite is the fruity Sussex Spritz.

Enjoy vermouth on it's own

For Robin, Wine Development Manager at Bolney, the flavours in our Bolney Rosso Vermouth are the perfect balance of sweet and savoury, so his favourite way to enjoy the mix of rich fruits and floral herbs is on it's own poured over ice.

Enjoy vermouth with tonic

After taste testing our vermouth with a variety of Fever Tree Tonics when we launched it, Ali, our HR and Office Manager, finds their Indian Tonic Water is the perfect pairing with our richly flavoured vermouth for a refreshing drink.

The best vermouth cocktails

Vermouth and Elderflower Tonic

This is served in a Balloon Glass 
(also known as a Gin and Tonic Glass).
- Fill glass halfway with ice
- Pour over 35ml of Bolney Rosso Vermouth
- Top up with Fever-Tree Elderflower Tonic
- Add a wheel of Orange and a sprig of Lemon Thyme

Vermouth and Indian Tonic

This is served in a Rocks Glass
(also known as a Low Ball Glass)
- Fill a third of the glass with ice
- Pour over 25ml of Bolney Rosso Vermouth
- Top up with Fever-Tree Indian Tonic
- Add a sprig of Thyme

Vermouth and Aromatic Tonic

This is served in a Balloon Glass 
(also known as Gin and Tonic Glass).
- Fill glass halfway with ice
- Pour over 35ml of Bolney Rosso Vermouth
- Top up with Fever-Tree Aromatic Tonic
- Add a wheel of Lemon and a sprig of Lemon Balm (optional - you can get this plant from garden centres but not supermarkets).

You can purchase our Vermouth here
You can discover Vermouth Cocktails here


Bolney Wine Estate Limited
Bolney Wine Estate Limited

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