You don't have to believe me about Vermouth, just ask Ernest Hemingway. A friend recently gave me a book about Hemingway's writing and cocktail recipes, "To Have and Have Another" by Philip Greene, and between all the reverence for Champagne (his Paris era) and rum coconut drinks (his Florida era), something else caught my eye.
It was the way the American legend used vermouth, both sweet and dry. Native to Italy and France, vermouth is wine that has been mixed with herbs and other botanicals and fortified with unaged brandy. It seems to have all my favorite liquid elements. Papa Hemingway concocted a drink with both types of vermouth and a dash of bitters (another of my favorite cocktail components.)
So it's like a meal with side dishes, but not the meat.
Anyway, it's something you can make at home or get in any bar -- if there is no yummy local wine or microbrew around. Or any time you want something different and pretty, that isn't a martini.
In going along with the no-meat theme, it's particularly nice to sip before enjoying a hearty vegetable and barley soup with warm, crusty bread.
So if the mood ever hits you, give it a try and have a healthy evening --- in literary style.
1 oz. sweet Italian vermouth1 dash Angostura bitters (or other bitters)
Fill a glass with ice, add ingredients and stir.