10 Sweet Vermouth Substitutes That You Need To Try!

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Vermouth and its various types are popular alcoholic beverages for cooking and cocktail making. Sweet vermouth is extremely popular and also versatile. If you have run out of the same, look at some of the best sweet Vermouth substitutes you can use! 

Sweet Vermouth Substitutes

The best substitutes for sweet vermouth are dry red wine, sweet red wine, sherry, red wine vinegar, port, grape juice, balsamic vinegar, sweet Madeira, Lillet Blanc, and Amaro Averna. 

Vermouth tends to have many types, like amber, rose, sweet, dry, and even extra-dry. However, the most popular types of vermouth used everywhere are dry and sweet vermouth. Dry vermouth tends to have a pale color with herbal and fruity flavors. 

In contrast, sweet vermouth has a deeper flavor, consisting of hints of caramel and vanilla and a fruity herbal flavor. The closest comparisons to dry and sweet vermouth would be the flavor profiles of white and red wine. However, as vermouth is a fortified wine, it has more alcohol content than wine. 

Here, as we are talking about sweet vermouth, it is widely used in several cocktails, the most popular being Manhattan and Negroni. Other than that, sweet vermouth is often used in cooking as well. 

Sweet vermouth gives a lot of flavor to sauces and glazes and can also be used for deglazing pans. So yes, it is a pretty versatile alcoholic beverage in your stock. But if you have run out at the last minute, don’t change your plans! 

Plenty of substitutes exist; some can work well for cooking, whereas others may work well for cocktails. There are also a few substitutes that fulfill both purposes! So, without further ado, let’s explore these substitutes! 

10 Best Sweet Vermouth Substitutes

Here, you will find a list of the best substitutes that work in place of sweet vermouth and information on what purpose they can best fulfill! 

1. Dry Red Wine

Red wine

The closest substitute for sweet vermouth, in terms of flavor, is dry red wine. Granted, it does not have as much alcohol as sweet vermouth. However, it does the trick nicely. Moreover, dry red wine is versatile and can work for cooking and cocktails. 

Dry red wine tends to have a slightly more subtle flavor than sweet vermouth. However, it is still very much noticeable. Moreover, the flavor builds up over time if you use dry red wine for glazing, stews, marinades, and more. 

So, it ends up giving your food that perfect balance of flavors. You can use any taste of dry red wine you like in a 1:1 ratio of substitution. However, if I had to recommend the best, it would surely be Merlot! 

2. Sherry


This is another type of fortified wine from Spain that substitutes for sweet vermouth. Although sherry is made from white grapes, dry sherry tends to have a closer flavor profile to sweet vermouth than cooked sherry. 

Cooking sherry tends to have a residual salty flavor, which can work well in recipes that need to be cooked for a long time. This includes stews and braised meats. However, it is best to stick to dry sherry for cocktails. 

Dry sherry is also an excellent option for quick recipes, such as sauces, glazes, and pan deglazing. The flavor might not be as sweet as sweet vermouth, but it will still do the trick. Use dry sherry as a substitute for sweet vermouth in a 1:1 ratio. 

3. Sweet Red Wine

Red wine

Like dry red wine, sweet red wine is a lovely close alternative to sweet vermouth. This is a much better option in some recipes than dry red wine. But again, it is essential to remember that the alcohol content of sweet red wine is lower than vermouth. 

Sweet red wine tends to have more residual sugar, which makes it more precious than dry red wine. This can be an advantage in dessert recipes where you want to use sweet vermouth. 

Additionally, sweet red wine is also an excellent option to add to marinades, sauces, glazes, and cocktails. A 1:1 ratio of substitution will work perfectly fine for this option. 

4. Port

Port wine

Port is a type of Portuguese fortified wine and hence has a higher alcoholic content. Port also tends to have a sweet flavor, making it one of the best substitutes for several recipes. It is a favorite for many when it comes to desserts. 

Port pairs very well with ingredients like chocolate, caramel, and berries, making it the perfect sweet vermouth substitute for desserts. However, that is only part of the port that can be used! Port is also great with any meat. 

A white port wine works better with cocktails, as it tends to have a balanced sweetness. For cooking, ruby port works best in marinades, stews, and glazes. Either way, you can directly substitute sweet vermouth with port. 

5. Red Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar

This substitute cannot be used for cocktails, as it is non-alcoholic. However, it can work great in cooking recipes. Red wine vinegar is made from red wine and has a more acidic flavor due to the reduction. 

This won’t work in cocktails, or even desserts for that matter, considering the sour taste. But, it is great for tenderizing meat if added to marinades. It is also a great option to add acidity and flavor to sauces and stews. 

While using it as a substitute for sweet vermouth, a direct swap is not recommended. Instead, for every cup of sweet vermouth, use ⅔ cup of red wine vinegar mixed with ⅓ cup of water. 

6. Grape Juice

red grape juice

Like red wine vinegar, grape juice is not an appropriate substitute for sweet vermouth in cocktails. However, it can work if you are particularly looking for a non-alcoholic substitute for your beverage. 

In cooking, though, grape juice can work well. Use red grape juice, as it tends to have a sweeter taste. But, the sweetness is much more than sweet vermouth, so use only half the quantity of grape juice compared to the amount of sweet vermouth you would use. 

7. Balsamic Vinegar


This is a type of vinegar that is made in barrels. It has a strong acidic flavor, balanced sweetness, tartness, and a thick texture. This one can only be used in cooking as a substitute for sweet vermouth, and not cocktails. 

Balsamic vinegar is versatile and works well in both savory and dessert recipes. Balsamic vinegar pairs well with meat, vegetables, cheese, and berries, making it a great substitute. However, use only ⅓ of balsamic vinegar as a substitute for sweet vermouth, as the flavor is very sharp. 

8. Amaro Averna

This is a type of Italian liqueur with a bitter-sweet flavor. It carries a lot of flavor profiles, like licorice, juniper berries, rosemary, and hints of citrus. All of this gives it an exciting flavor. 

Unlike the ones mentioned before, I would particularly like to recommend this substitute for cocktails more than cooking. It can work in food as well. However, you won’t get the sweet flavor like sweet vermouth. 

Though, the flavors blend in cocktails, especially in Manhattan cocktails. This substitute can be used in place of sweet vermouth in a 1:1 ratio. 

9. Lillet Blanc

Lillet Blanc

This is a type of French aromatized wine that has flavors that are sweet, refreshing, and herbal. Lillet Blanc most often served as an aperitif but also worked well in most cocktails. 

This makes it an excellent substitute for sweet vermouth in cocktails. The flavor might not be the same as that of sweet vermouth. However, it will still be pretty refreshing. You can do a direct swap while using it as a substitute. 

10. Sweet Madeira

Sweet Madeira is a versatile substitute that can be used instead of sweet vermouth. This one can efficiently work in both cocktails and cooking recipes. It tends to have a nutty flavor with hints of honey. 

Besides cocktails, sweet Madeira works well with desserts and pairs well with chocolate and berries. It is most often served as a dessert wine! In either case, sweet Madeira can be used as a substitute for sweet vermouth in a 1:1 ratio of substitution. 

Short Recap For Sweet Vermouth Substitutes

Here is a short recap of the best substitutes that can be used in place of sweet vermouth. These categories to choose the best of the lot are based on what purpose they can best fulfill. 

Best Sweet Vermouth Substitutes For Cocktails:

  1. Sweet Madeira
  2. Sweet Red Wine

Best Sweet Vermouth Substitutes For Cooking:

  1. Sherry
  2. Dry Red Wine
  3. Port
  4. Red Wine Vinegar

Substitutes That You Should Consider Using Last:

  1. Grape Juice
  2. Balsamic Vinegar

How To Use Sweet Vermouth Substitutes

Sweet Vermouth Substitutes

10 Best Sweet Vermouth Substitutes That You Need To Try

The best substitutes for sweet vermouth are dry red wine, sweet red wine, sherry, red wine vinegar, port, grape juice, balsamic vinegar, sweet Madeira, Lillet Blanc, and Amaro Averna.
5 from 1 vote


  • Dry Red Wine
  • Sherry
  • Sweet Red Wine
  • Port
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Grape Juice
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Amaro Averna
  • Lillet Blanc
  • Sweet Madeira


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and make the dish according to the recipe.
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Sweet vermouth is one of the most versatile alcoholic beverages, just like wine. It is fortified, which gives it a higher alcohol content, along with a sweet flavor. This works well in cocktails and also a bunch of cooking recipes. 

However, regardless of how versatile it is, there are a bunch of different substitutes that work well in its place. Some substitutes can work for every purpose, while others are more restricted. 

Either way, I hope the list of substitutes gives you a fair idea of which one can be used where and what each of them pairs the best with. Let me know which worked best for your recipe, and I’ll see you next time! 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can dry vermouth be used as a substitute for sweet vermouth? 

No, although they are both a type of vermouth, their flavor profiles are very different. So, it is best to substitute something other than dry vermouth for sweet vermouth. 

Can white wine be used as a substitute for sweet vermouth? 

No, white wine tends to be too dry as compared to sweet vermouth and will not give a similar flavor or mouthfeel as the latter. 

Do sweet and dry red wine taste the same? 

No, sweet red wine has a lingering sweetness, whereas dry red wine has a sharper acidic flavor and a different mouthfeel. 

What are some of the most famous cocktails made with sweet vermouth, where you could use Sherry or Port as a substitute? 

Negroni and Manhattan are two cocktails where Sherry or Port can work well instead of sweet vermouth. 

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