Home Knowledge 12 Vermouth Substitutes: Cocktails & Cooking

12 Vermouth Substitutes: Cocktails & Cooking

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Holding a bottle of Vermouth next to Manhattan cocktail

Vermouth is typically used in mixed drinks to add a hint of dryness and bitter flavor. There’s also a sweet variety that is subtly bitter and spicy. Vermouth is great for cocktails and cooking, but it can also be served on the rocks with ice or straight up as a shot.

If you’re looking for an alternative to vermouth that’s more budget-friendly, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are twelve Vermouth substitutes that will work perfectly in cocktails and cooking recipes.

What is the best substitute for Vermouth?

If you need to replace dry Vermouth then Lillet Blanc works perfectly in cocktails. Dry white wine is a good option in savory recipes and for a no-alcohol replacement in cooking, try apple cider vinegar.

1. Lillet Blanc

If you want to make a Martini with dry Vermouth, then Lillet Blanc is the best substitute. It is a French aperitif that is a lot like dry Vermouth in terms of flavor and color but is also quite sweet. Lillet Blanc has citrus and herbaceous notes which you won’t get from Vermouth.

Be sure to check out our guide on Lille Blanc substitutes to learn more about this tasty aperitif.

Similar options: Cocchi Americano or Amaro can also be used to make cocktails calling for dry vermouth.

2. Dry white wine

White wine can be used anywhere you would use dry vermouth in cooking. It is our favored option in savory dishes as it’s easy to find wherever you are in the world.

The flavor of white wine is a little less intense than vermouth, but it will still work as a substitute. If you choose this option then add a little extra for good measure.

Riesling is perfect for those who want the sweetness of Vermouth without the strong taste of alcohol.

3. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has a sour flavor and is highly acidic. It can be used as a substitute for Vermouth in most cooking recipes. If you’d like to learn more about this cider then check out our article on the top apple cider vinegar alternatives.

Vermouth Substitutes Infographic4. Red wine

Red wine makes an excellent substitute for sweet Vermouth in dessert recipes and the occasional savory recipe. If you’re making a sauce for meat or a dessert, then red wine is easy to find and works well. Jams and chocolate sauce will also benefit from a splash of red wine.

Do you need to replace sweet Vermouth in a cocktail? Dry red wine and simple syrup are a good substitute. Simply combine your choice of dry red wine with a splash of sugar and water to sweeten it up.

Use any leftover over wine to make a sangria!

5. Olive oil

Replacing Vermouth with olive oil is an easy way to save money on liquor. It also won’t sacrifice flavor in your cooking. This option will work well for recipes such as a tomato sauce or pasta dish where you’re looking for richness without adding overpowering flavor.

Related reading: olive oil vs canola oil guide.

6. Fortified wine

If you’re looking for something similar to red or white Vermouth in terms of taste as well as color, then fortified wines like port and Madeira are a good way to go. They’ll also save you some cash which is a bonus.

7. Dry Sherry

Dry sherry is a useful option for replacing dry Vermouth in cocktails like Martinis.  For those who don’t want a sweet drink, dry sherry is an excellent substitute. Sherry is more distinctive and tastes a little sweeter, so you’re best to use less than you’d use Vermouth.

Also check out our guide to cooking sherry substitutes.

8. White Port

White Port is a good option for replacing sweet Vermouth in a cocktail. It can be used in place of Vermouth in many classic cocktails such as the Manhattan, Americano, Negroni, or Ramos Gin Fizz.

9. Red Wine vinegar

If you need an option that doesn’t contain alcohol, then red wine vinegar is another good choice for replacing sweet Vermouth in a cocktail.

10. Sake

Sake has a dry flavor that’s roughly comparable to Vermouth and can be used to replace sweet Vermouth in a cocktail. You can learn more about the taste of sake or how to store sake here.

11. Olive brine

Olive brine may seem like an option out of left field, but it makes a “slapdash” type of dry Martini ingredient if you’re in a pinch. As for drinking this alternative on its own, we’ll leave that choice up to you.     

12. Stock

Are you cooking a savory dish and need an alcohol-free substitute for Vermouth? Stock will work well in place of Vermouth in soups, braises, reductions, and stews. You can use any type of stock such as chicken, beef, fish, or vegetable.

Related reading:
What’s a good cooking wine substitute?

What are some common uses for Vermouth?

Cocktails: Dry vermouth is a popular ingredient in many cocktails and is used to make a variety of recipes such as the Negroni, Manhattan, French 75, Gibson.

Savory Recipes: Vermouth can be found in recipes for sauces (such as meat sauce), soups (such as Italian Wedding Soup) braises, or stews like Beef Bourguignon. It also pairs well with shellfish, seafood, poultry, and olive oil in salad dressings.

Dessert Recipes: Vermouth enhances the flavor of chocolate, adding a nice complexity to desserts and chocolate sauce. It’s also a nice way to add flavor to jam and jelly recipes. Add sweet Vermouth to any sweet recipe such as apple pies, fruit tarts, or pecan pie.

Did you know? Old Vermouth that has started to ferment can be used as a vinegar alternative.

Frequently asked questions

What is Vermouth?

Vermouth is a fortified wine that has been flavored with a variety of botanical ingredients to create an aromatic liquor. It can be sweet or dry. Some popular brands include Noilly Prat, Martini & Rossi, and Cocchi.

Can I use dry Vermouth in place of sweet Vermouth?

Dry Vermouth has a different flavor profile to sweet Vermouth and the two shouldn’t be used interchangeably. In most cases, sweet Vermouth is best used in sweet, fruity cocktails and dry Vermouth is best used in sour, bitter drinks.

Summing up

Vermouth is a versatile drink that is perfect for mixing into cocktails and adding into sweet and savory dishes. If you need to replace dry Vermouth then Lillet Blanc will work well in cocktails. Dry white wine is perfect for savory dishes and apple cider vinegar is a great alcohol-free option.

Do you have a replacement that you can recommend? Please get in contact and we’ll add it to the list.