If You Only Have One Fancy Cocktail Ingredient at Home, This Should Be It

While a simple rum and coke might cut it at a tailgate, chances are you're looking for something a bit more sophisticated when hosting a dinner party or holiday get-together. Sophisticated doesn't have to mean labor intensive and complicated. In fact, all it takes is keeping your bar cart stocked with one extra ingredient that can be used in a variety of cocktail recipes for a simple but noticeably elevated drink. What's the secret ingredient? Vermouth. 

Vermouth refers to a broad range of liqueurs, usually broken down into three categories: dry, sweet, and blanc. Dry vermouth is tart and herbaceous while sweet vermouth is rich and spiced, and blanc is sort of a combination of the two, with slightly citrusy flavors. It's made from 75% wine, grape juice, and alcohol. Fun fact, the Coca-Cola recipe is a nonalcoholic derivative of vermouth. Vermouth ranges from 16% to 22% ABV. 

While this liqueur may sound like an unnecessary extra, it's actually considered essential in most classic cocktails, from Manhattans to martinis, negronis, and Americanos. Read on to learn the best ways to use vermouth for a deceivingly easy and fancy cocktail.