Sweet vermouth manufacturers will often use inexpensive white wine as the base ingredient, and infuse that liquid with a mixture of spirits, spices, and sweetness.
This recipe describes how to make a spice-infused caramel sauce that you can store in your fridge and pour over a glass of ice with a splash of brandy, sherry, and a nice glass of white wine. Think of it like a deconstructed sweet vermouth, made fresh with nice white wine whenever you want it.
The recipe below makes about twice the amount of spiced caramel sauce than what you will need to make 4 cocktails.
Deconstructed Sweet Vermouth Cocktail
For the Spiced Caramel Sauce:
- ¾ cup of white granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp water
- Zest from 2 oranges
- Zest from 2 lemons
- 1 whole star anise pods
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- ½ Tbsp coriander seed
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 4 cloves
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 sprig rosemary
For the Other Vermouth Cocktail Ingredients:
- 16 oz unoaked decent dry white wine
- 4 oz brandy
- 4 oz cup of sherry
- 4 fresh orange slices
- To make the caramel sauce, combine your white granulated sugar, water, orange zest, lemon zest, star anise, fennel seed, coriander seed, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, thyme and rosemary.
- Slowly cook sugar mixture on medium to medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved and turned into a light golden-brown color, like an early-stage caramel.
- *Avoid stirring the caramel too much while it is changing color.
- Remove spiced caramel from heat and remove the larger solids like the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, star anise pods, and whole cloves.
Now, you are ready to construct your cocktails:
- To construct the cocktails, add ice to four rocks glasses.
- Stir together the white wine, brandy, sherry, and add caramel sauce to taste, depending on your preference for sweetness.
- Mix until incorporated.
- Pour incorporated mixture over ice in large wine glasses or rocks glasses.
- Garnish with fresh orange slices and enjoy at the end of a long day.