15 Vermouth Substitutes for Cooked Dishes and Mixed Drinks

Vermouth is a fortified and aromatized wine made of a variety of botanicals, spices, herbs, sweeteners and a touch of brandy. There are two main varieties of vermouth:  sweet (rosso or red) that comes from Italy and dry vermouth originating from France. 

Vermouth has a mild sweetness, some bitterness and spicy notes. It is used in cooking, sauces, side dishes, desserts and cocktails.  

If you have it in your recipe list but don’t have it in hand because of the high price tag, then consider some of the best substitutes we’ll discuss in this post. 

The best alternatives for sweet and dry vermouth are dry red wine, sweet red wine, amaro, sweet fortified wine, wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, regular grape juice, dry white wine, lemon juice, lillet blanc, dry sherry, sake, white grape juice, maple syrup and stocks

Sweet Vermouth Substitutes

1. Dry Red Wine

Dry red wine is one of the easiest alternatives to sweet vermouth. It perfectly works in desserts and with meat-based dishes. You can make desserts and sauces including chocolate sauces as well as delicious jams and cocktails.  

You can use it in 1:1 ratio and get the well-balanced combination of bitter and sweet flavors that sweet vermouth carries. 

2. Sweet Red Wine

Another suitable replacer between red wines is sweet red wine. Well, it’s a classic substitute  and an easy to find one, to look for in your pantry. 

Compared to vermouth, sweet red wine may be sweeter but you can use it in smaller amounts. However, we mainly offer it for desserts, so you can go for a 1:1 ratio. 

3. Amaro

Amaro means bitter in Italian and almost all types of amaros have a bitter, syrupy and sweet flavor. They are herbal liqueurs, and in the wide range of amaro liquors you can make your choice between Meletti and Amaro Tosolini. 

Melleti has a caramel-chocolate-like flavor and comes in a caramel color. It is mostly served as a digestivo. 

As for amaro Tosolini, it has a rich combination of flavors from tart, citrus-bitter to honeyed-fruity. The color is darker than Amaro Melleti’s color. 

4. Fortified Wine

Fortified wine is a red-colored wine and when sweet spirit is added into it, it becomes sweet and resembles sweet vermouth. Vermouth and sherry are considered as separate types of wines that belong to this  beverage category. 

So, if you happen to have a sweet fortified wine such as Port or Madeira, you can save money and use one of them instead of vermouth in desserts, mixed drinks and other recipes. 

They are also similar to vermouth in color. You can use Ports instead of vermouth in many cocktails including Americano, Manhattan, Ramos Gin Fizz and Negroni. 

5. Wine Vinegar (White, Red or Apple Cider Vinegar)

Looking for an alcohol-free substitute? Here is red wine vinegar. It’s the first non-alcoholic alternative in this list and you may have it in your kitchen as a regular ingredient for cooked dishes. It will provide the acidic tone of vermouth. 

You can choose white wine vinegar, but if you have apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar, go ahead with them. Wine vinegar goes well with savory dishes and salads. 

6. Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is more popular in Italian dishes. It is dark brown in color and has a fruity flavor. It is made of “must grapes” and is quite expensive.

However, If you have it in your pantry, you can use it to replace sweet vermouth in salads, side dishes, sauces, desserts, marinades and mixed drinks. 

7. Regular Grape Juice

Grape juice has a rich burgundy color to make your dish appealing. It comes with some sourness, yet stays on a sweeter side. It is another alcohol-free replacement for sweet vermouth. 

You can use it in sauces, marinades and mixed drinks to bring the rich wine-y notes of vermouth. 

Grape juice is a good option especially for light oiled sauce of lemony chicken. If it tastes too sweet, you may add other spices to balance the flavor. It’s better to start with small amounts or use half a cup of grape juice for 1 cup of sweet vermouth. 

Dry Vermouth Substitutes

8. Dry White Wine

As for dry vermouth, there are even more substitutes for it. Let’s start with dry white wine. It can be used in any cooked dish calling for dry vermouth. It has a milder taste than vermouth but works the same way and the result is satisfying. 

When it comes to ratios, you can go for more than you have in your recipe. 

9. Lemon Juice

The second choice for dry vermouth is lemon juice and it’s an alcohol-free optin for your cooked dishes, mixed drinks, salads and side meals. If you use vermouth to add acidity, then lemon juice is just on point. 

Of course, not all recipes welcome this alternative, but you know where to add it as it’s a simple ingredient without a complex mixture of tastes and flavors. 

10. Lillet Blanc

Lillet blanc is a French aperitif that resembles light dry vermouth. This beverage is an ideal replacement for dry vermouth in cocktails, particularly in Martini. It has a mild sweetness and a citrusy taste with herbal and floral notes. 

Lillet Blanc blends well with many spirits without adding too much sweetness or too much bitterness, just like vermouth. 

11. Dry Sherry

There are several types of sherry and dry sherry is the best variety to choose instead of dry vermouth. It is another fortified wine made of green grapes and comes from Spain. 

If you choose it for cooking purposes then go for the most complex option. You can use it in making Martini and other cocktails as well as serve with savory dishes. It has a mouthwatering nature and tastes nutty-savory. 

12. Sake

Sake is a Japanese alcoholic beverage produced by fermented rice. It tastes like white wine only with a subtle hint. 

You can use it in soups, sauces and desserts instead of vermouth and get the similar dry flavor as dry vermouth has.  Use it in a 1:1 ratio. 

13. White Grape Juice

While regular grape juice is suitable to replace sweet vermouth, white grape juice can be used instead of dry vermouth. 

You can use it in cooked dishes, cocktails, other mixed drinks and sauces. Half cup of white grape juice can be used to replace 1 cup of dry vermouth. If it tastes sweet, balance the flavor with a pinch of salt. 

14. Maple Syrup

You can use maple syrup in some side dishes where additional sweetness is required and vermouth doesn’t meet your preferences. 

For instance, the well-known weeknight dinner or holiday side dish called candied carrots or carrot vermouth is sometimes made with vermouth. You can replace it with maple syrup to make it kid-friendly. 

15. Vegetable, Beef, Fish or Poultry Broths

Any of these broths that you have in hand can be used instead of vermouth in savory dishes including soups, stews, braises and cooked meals. 

This is an alcohol-free substitute and you can make your choice between vegetable, beef, fish or poultry broths according to the rest of ingredients you have in your recipe. 

FAQs on Vermouth

Can I use Sweet Vermouth in Cooking?

Sweet vermouth makes the dish slightly sweet and if you don’t mind some sweetness, then you can use sweet vermouth in cooking. On the other hand, dry vermouth carries less sweetness and brings a herbal touch. 

Can I freeze vermouth?

If you have a bottle of vermouth and want to save it for later use, then you can keep it in the freeze. However, you can keep opened vermouth for 6 months in the fridge too. 

Is Vermouth keto?

There are many beverages that are keto-friendly and vermouth is one of them. You can use it in keto-approved drinks and dishes. 

Final Thoughts

Whether you are looking for a vermouth substitute for cooking or your favorite cocktails, one thing is for sure: we have collected the best options so each can easily find a substitute from their pantry or the closest grocery store. 

Vermouth may be an expensive beverage, but it’s not an irreplaceable ingredient in cooking recipes and cocktails. 

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