£5.75 - 1L
Vermouth is an odd spirit, and one which has a varied reputation. On one hand it's something that raises eyebrows amongst younger drinkers as it's considered something that maybe Grandma would drink, but on the other hand, it's an incredibly powerful spirit that is an essential ingredient in some classic cocktails, many of which are making a popular comeback in expensive bars.
Unlike other supermarket spirits which undercut the market leading brands by a couple of pounds, Asda and other supermarkets sell red, white and sweet vermouth for less than half the price of the market leader (Martini Rosso is £12 for 1L). This means a significant saving can be made if this is actually any good!
Red Vermouth is an essential ingredient in three of my absolute favourite drinks: The Manhattan, the Negroni and the Bronx, and as such, it's something I always have in stock. The nature of vermouth however makes it something which is extremely subjective to review - a fortified red wine infused with herbs, spices and other botanicals, but here goes.
With the UK market and my personal experience dominated by the Martini brand, this was something completely new to me. My first impression is that this is not merely a cheap imitation. The flavour profile is distinct and different to Martini. It's not especially more harsh as some supermarket brands are and actually tastes a little bit deeper and more complex to me. It's hard as someone with little vermouth experience to precisely put my finger on exactly what this is, but all I can say is that the botanicals used are clearly different and give an alternative flavour to the one I was used to.
I have heard from others who have had varying experiences with supermarket vermouth and I believe there are vast variations in quality. I seem here though to have picked a good one. The bottle, as you can see in picture, is almost empty, and the Boulevardier in the background represents the last in the line of many good cocktails this bottle has made for me. I would personally highly recommend this as an excellent and very good value alternative to Martini. Ultimately though, the subjective nature of vermouth will mean that individual tastes vary. For less than £6 a bottle, I really think it's worth a try, and is a real bargain for those who like it.