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Quickie: Are you supposed to refrigerate both dry and sweet vermouth?

Unpossible Jan 31, 2007 10:21 AM

And if I haven't and they've been sitiing out for 2 months do I need to throw them both away?


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  1. fafner Jan 31, 2007 12:42 PM

    Vermouth, both Dry and Sweet are fortified wines that will go bad very quickly and should both be refrigerated. 2 months out will definately have some effect on the wine, but I don't think there is any safety issue with drinking it, especially considering 99% of the bars out there have the same bottles of vermouth sitting out night after night after night.

    You will definitely have an impact in flavor, although it may not be too noticeable right now.

    I much prefer to buy smaller bottles of vermouth and keep them in the fridge so I have a higher turnover.

    1. e
      Eric the Law Student Feb 1, 2007 03:45 PM

      Also, try sweet vermouth on the rocks. This is a summer drink that people in Spain live on. Maybe not for everyone, but I like it!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Eric the Law Student
        Olivia Feb 6, 2007 09:22 AM

        I like dry vermouth the same way--it's lovely in the summer too!

      2. MC Slim JB Feb 1, 2007 08:23 PM

        In my own experience, fortified wines like vermouth do not go bad quickly; they keep well for months after opening. I find that exposure to light is bad for them -- sweet vermouths turn from garnet to an unattractive brownish --, but they certainly don't spoil within days the way unfortified wines do. I don't go through tons of vermouth, so some of my bottles are over a year old, but I don't find the deterioration of flavor over time that fafner cites.

        2 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB
          JMF Feb 2, 2007 08:40 AM

          I have been doing a lot of research on this lately for a series of articles I'm working on. Vermouth should be kept in the fridge and out of the light. Also that you only buy it from stores with fast turnover where it has only been on the shelves for a few days or weeks. It should be used within six months of bottling, max. up to around 8 months. Before the one year point it will have started to go off in taste. This is for unopened bottles. Opened bottles should be used well within 1month for best flavor. Vermouth doesn't have enough fortification to prevent it from going off quickly. I did a taste test between unopened bottles that were new vs. a few months old and you could easily tell the difference. Also between just opened and in the fridge for two months and the difference was very noticeable. The older they were, the more oxidized and off tasting they became.

          1. re: JMF
            chazzer Feb 2, 2007 06:11 PM

            JMF, where and when will I be able to read your articles

        2. a
          allegro805 Feb 2, 2007 02:39 PM

          I've had no problem keeping them unrefrigerated after opening, though I mostly buy sweet. As mentioned, I probably would want to use it up within 6 months, but I obviously don't have the highly refined palate of others who find an "off" taste.

          I wouldn't throw out the stock you have even if you decide to start refrigerating. Taste them if you're not sure, but my guess is you certainly should have no problem using them as mixers or even drinking straight.

          1. s
            seiun Oct 28, 2010 03:53 PM

            Vermouth is wine, so it will turn to vinegar if left out. Any non-distilled liquor requires refrigeration after opening. According the experts at Noilly Pratt, an opened bottle of vermouth will last about 3 months if properly refrigerated.

            2 Replies
            1. re: seiun
              Karen_Schaffer Nov 14, 2010 07:49 PM

              I'm sure the manufacturers would be thrilled if they can convince people to buy a new bottle every 3 months. Taste your bottle yourself and make up your own mind. I've had bottles that have lasted for years stored in a dark cabinet. Sure, their flavor profile may have changed, but they still tasted fine. Definitely not vinegar!

              1. re: seiun
                JMF Jan 16, 2011 11:39 AM

                Actually it's a fortified wine, which means it has had spirits added to increase the alcohol, and shelf life.

              2. n
                NeverLift Jan 15, 2011 02:39 PM

                Well, just tried making a Manhattan with some really old sweet vermouth, and it tasted dreadful, which is how I stumbled on this and other sites addressing the question. According to Noilly Prat, three months in the fridge after opening is safe. Poured that ancient stuff into a clear glass, pure brown, like a wine that has gone bad . . . which it is.

                Now experimenting with what remains: Can I freeze it? The alcohol may prevent that. If it works, I'll parcel out the next bottle, I just don't use it often enough to justify a fresh bottle four times a year.

                PS: Have had many wines kept way past their drinkability. The alcohol does not turn to vinegar. Rather, the wine turns to sh*it!

                1 Reply
                1. re: NeverLift
                  EvergreenDan Jan 15, 2011 04:33 PM

                  Maybe you've read this above, but I suggest:
                  a) keep all vermouth, sherry, etc in the refrigerator,
                  b) use a vac-u-vin to evacuate most of the air.
                  c) drink more Manhattans,
                  d) buy a 375ml bottle if available
                  e) use an interesting sweet vermouth, like Carpano Antica Formula and drink it straight
                  f) focus your sweet vermouth cocktails into one season (winter?)
                  g) drink other sweet vermouth drinks, like the Negroni, to use it up

                  No amount of great liquor can improve spoiled vermouth.

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