Vermouth or wormwood - named after the wormwood herb - is a wine that has been enriched with various herbs and spices. It has an alcohol content of 14.5-21.9% vol. and a bitter taste. According to the EU regulation, wormwood is described as a "flavoured wine with a characteristic aroma that has been mixed with alcohol". It covers a palette of tastes from tart to bitter, sweet and sour. Honey, clove, cinnamon, vanilla, gentian, chamomile, lemon and many more aromas can be found in the nose, taste and also in the finish.
The origins of wormwood go back to ancient Egypt, Hippocrates used the elixir for example against jaundice or tetanus. Clear differences in taste can be seen in dry French and rather sweet Italian wormwood.
They are divided into different categories according to their sugar content:
- Extra dry: 0-29g sugar/liter with at least 15% alcohol content
- Dry: 30-49g sugar/liter with at least 16% alcohol content
- Semi-dry: 50-90g sugar/liter
- Semi-sweet: 90-130g sugar/liter
- Sweet: 130g or more sugar/liter