A fortified wine flavored with a complex forumla of herbs, spices, flowers and seeds. There are two primary styles of vermouth: sweet (red) and dry (white). All vermouths are derived from white wines. Sweet vermouth (created in Italy) has a slightly sweet flavor and a reddish brown color from the addition of caramel. Sweet vermouth is is served as an aperitif and used in slightly sweet cocktails. Dry vermouth or French vermouth is also served as an aperitif and is used in dry cocktails, like martinis. Drinks made with half sweet and half dry vermouth are referred t as "perfect," as in a perfect Manhattan.
Once opened, the flavor begins to dissapate; so vermouth should be stored in the refrigerator no more than 3 months.