This is the beginning of the blog post. It goes like this:
What is vermouth?
Vermouth is a type of fortified wine with botanicals and aromatics added.
And what’s the best way to store wine? Constant low temperature and away from direct sunlight, right?
Ok, you see where I’m going here.
Aside from Port and Madeira, most of the fortified wines and aperitif type liquors should be refrigerated once opened. (Port and Madeira actually store quite well once opened. Just keep them out of sunlight and below 74 degrees and they’ll be happy for a long time.)
But besides vermouth, there are plenty of other boozy beverages and non-boozy mixers that really should live in your refrigerator. Of course, there are many exceptions, but I’ll start you off with a few rules for making your home bar last longer:
Rules for Liquor & Mixer Storage
Rule #1: If it has added sugar: refrigerate after opening. Examples include: Roses Sweetened Lime, Grenadine, any pre-mixed cocktail, and lots of liqueurs (see Rules #3 & 4).
Rule #2: Low-proof apéritifs belong in your fridge. Examples include: Dry Vermouth, Sweet Vermouth, Blanc/White/Rosé Vermouth, Lillet Blanc/Rosé/Rouge, Campari and Pastis.
Rule #3: Digestif liquours should be refrigerated once opened. Examples include: Drambuie, Kahlua, and Limoncello.
Rule #4: “Creme of/Cream of” anything should be refrigerated once opened. Examples include: Irish Cream, Tequila Cream, and Crème de Mûre/Pêche/Poire/Framboise.
And while I’m a fan of refrigerating my vodka -not freezing it- I won’t go so far as to make a rule about it. We’ll revisit this in a moment.
Now that I’ve laid down the rules, here are the caveats.
You should most certainly refrigerate Grenadine and Sweetened Lime after opening them as this is a matter of safe storage. I’m a firm believer that most “Crème de …” should also be refrigerated because of their high sugar content. But the bulk of the items on this list don’t fall into this category.
Let’s talk sweet vermouth for a moment. It’s shelf stable at room temperature for quite a long while. However, if you refrigerate it, it will keep longer. Personally, I don’t recommend keeping a bottle of vermouth longer than two months after its been opened… but that’s just me.
Baileys® claims that their Irish Cream will taste loverly for two years, even if you’ve opened it. I, for one, will never put it to that test, but I do still put it in the chill chest. Why? Varmint protection. Here in the state of California, we have ants and other insects that would just love to get into any bottle of anything sweet. So I refrigerate the following as a means of staving off insects: Grand Marnier, Irish Cream, Kahlua, and Crème de Mûre. (Yes, it’s in two different lists. I feel that strongly about it.)
And of course, there are items that I refrigerate simply because it makes good sense. Into this category go: Gin, Vodka, Lillet, Dry Vermouth, and Creme de Menthe. Similarly, Limoncello lives in your freezer. If you have a bottle and it isn’t there: You’re Doing It Wrong.
All that said; refrigerate your vermouths. You’re going to serve them cold anyway, right?