Yesterday, after finishing off my first bottle, it was time to make a new batch of red wine-based vermouth. While I did like the first batch, there were a few major changes in order. First, as the title suggests, I realized that the last batch really wasn't vermouth. I decided to embrace that fact and go more in the direction of a light amaro. I stuck with the same basic ingredients, but I made a few tweaks to the proportions to reflect this choice. Next, I picked out a new base wine. I know now that I will keep experimenting with this concept, so it was time to choose a bulk option. I ended up going with Bota Malbec.

Cooked Ingredients

  • 375 ml red wine
  • 15 cardamom pods
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 star anise

Raw Ingredients

  • 125 ml red wine
  • 250ml brandy
  • 1.5 oz Oloroso sherry
  • 1 oz bitter orange tincture
  • 1/4 oz sweet orange tincture
  • 15 drops wormwood tincture
  • 24 drops gentian tincture
  • 35 drops cinchona tincture
  • 4 oz simple syrup (2:1)

For procedure, see Sweet Vermouth Batch #19.


I increased the cardamom, gentian, and cinchona. I also boosted the alcohol content with some extra brandy. Since this is no longer vermouth, I abandoned the caramelized sugar.

With Byrrh in mind, I wanted to make it a bit more fruity, so I used E&J VSOP brandy, which I find tastes almost like alcoholic grape juice, though in a mostly good way.

The result was immediately well received, especially when compared to the first version. I think the extra cardamom in particular made a significant difference. I'm not sure if the sherry is necessary, I will find out next time, but I don't think there are any other adjustments that I would make to the existing ingredients. When I near the bottom of the bottle, I will consider whether anything new should be added.

Also in need of consideration: what should I call it?

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