How to Cook With Dry Vermouth


Though most people associate dry vermouth with a martini, it is often used in gourmet cooking as an ingredient in entrees, soups and desserts. Dry vermouth has a white wine base allowing it to be used as a substitute for white wine in recipes. Vermouth also comes in a sweet variety. Along with sherry, port and marsala, vermouth is one of the world's fine fortified wines. Most vermouth is made in France, Italy or California. One of the best-loved recipes using vermouth is classic French Onion Soup.

Things You'll Need

  • Skillet
  • Red or yellow onions
  • Olive Oil
  • Sugar
  • Garlic
  • Beef stock
  • Dry vermouth
  • Bay leaf
  • Thyme
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • French bread
  • Swiss gruyere cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Paring knife
  • Sharp knife for cutting and slicing
  • Measuring spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Oven mitts
  • Serving bowls
  • Peel and thinly cut six large onions. Pour the olive oil in the large skillet and saute the onions, using medium high heat. After 10 minutes, add 1/4 tsp. sugar to start the carmelization of the onions. Continue cooking until well browned. The entire browning process takes about 30 to 40 minutes. Make sure the onions do not burn.

  • Add 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced. Continue to saute 1 minute longer. Add 8 cups of beef stock, 1/2 cup dry vermouth, 1 bay leaf and 1/4 tsp. dried thyme to the skillet. Partially cover and simmer until the flavors fuse together well. This takes about 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  • Set out an individual oven-proof soup bowl for each guest. This recipe serves four to six people. Ladle the onion soup in the bowls, leaving some room at the top of the bowl for toast.

  • Lay one toasted slice of French bread directly onto the soup in each bowl, covering the soup. Divide 1 1/2-cups of grated gruyere cheese evenly between the numbers of soup bowls and sprinkle the top of the toast in each bowl with the cheese. Add a pinch or two of Parmesan cheese on each slice of bread. Turn on the oven broiler. Put the bowls under the broiler, about 6 inches down from the broiler element. Broil until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned. Remove the bowls, using a kitchen cloth or oven mitts. Serve immediately.

Tips & Warnings

  • When using vermouth as a substitute for white wine, make certain you choose an extra dry or white (bianco). The sweet red (rosso) variety makes a good substitute for port, cognac or marsala. Use the equivalent amount of vermouth as wine called for in the recipe. For example, if the recipe calls for 1/3 cup of wine, substitute 1/3 cup of vermouth. The cost of vermouth is typically cheaper than most wines and the shelf life of an open bottle is longer than a bottle of white wine, often lasting up to three months when stored in the refrigerator.

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