I have a well stocked bar at home so from time to time I mix some drinks. Many popular drinks list Vermouth (e.g. Noilly Prat) as an ingredient. Basically, Vermouth can be compared to a special kind of wine as it also produced from wine. This is where the trouble starts: As soon as you open a bottle Vermouth for the first time, you have to store it in a fridge and after 2-3 weeks have to throw the bottle away because you can't use it anymore. So to really empty the bottle, you have to drink a lot.

This is a common problem for many people and there are many ideas for solutions (spraying some protective gas into the bottle, filling many smaller bottles, sucking the air out of the bottle, writing to companies and asking for miniature bottles...) but none of them really works. Now I just had another idea: Can I just fill an ice cube form with Vermouth and put it in the freezer and then just take out the amount I need? Or will it loose it's flavor due to the freezing process?

  • 5
    Eh? I never store vermouth in the fridge, and I certainly don't throw it away after a few weeks. Yes, it's made from wine, but so is brandy, and you wouldn't throw away brandy just 'cause it's been open for a few days, would you?
    – Marti
    May 17, 2012 at 22:08
  • Well, Wikipedia says: "Gourmands recommend that opened bottles of vermouth be consumed within one to three months and should be kept refrigerated to slow oxidation." One of the citations for that sentence seems to be closer to the OP's view, though, saying "Even if you keep your vermouth in the fridge, after a week you'll notice it has a different flavor. If you keep that vermouth on a shelf, it's going to taste terrible."
    – Cascabel
    May 17, 2012 at 22:14
  • Filling the bottle with CO2 and sealing should prevent further oxidation assuming it was NOT aerated by shaking, violent pouring, or some other means.
    – Wulfhart
    May 18, 2012 at 0:31
  • Wow. I've been mixing drinks with vermouth for years and keeping bottles on the counter for months at a time and I've never noticed a decrease in quality. I'll have to pay more attention to that. Thanks for bringing this up! +1
    – Preston
    Mar 23, 2013 at 12:46
  • Apparently, sweet vermouth (which is what I prefer) does just fine in a half-empty bottle at room temp. Dry vermouth, on the other hand, not so much. Or so they say.
    – Marti
    Sep 10, 2013 at 20:09

3 Answers 3


Water freezes at 0° C (or 32° F), but ethanol freezes at -114° C, so you can guess your vermouth with freeze somewhere in between those two temperatures.

Noilly Prat is 18% ABV, or 15% alcohol by weight, which means it would freeze at around -6° C to -7° C, or 19-21° F. Your freezer may or may not be tuned to be that cold, but if not, you should be able to crank it a bit and get your Noilly Prat just frozen.

That said, I would not really recommend leaving an ice cube tray full of vermouth hanging out in your freezer. You may notice that old ice tastes funny. Even though you may not notice your freezer smelling, that's partly because the cold blocks smells. Just because you don't notice them doesn't mean the odors aren't there to ruin your Noilly Prat. I would recommend leaving them for a day until just frozen (covered if you like), and then moving them to a Ziploc for long term storage.

All that said, freezing will not halt oxidation altogether, but it will help, as only the exposed surfaces areas should be able to be oxidized. Since ice cubes by design have a relatively high surface area, you may consider minimizing the exposure to oxygen by other means.

If you have a vacuum sealer, using that would be a fairly simple means to limit that exposure, but a similar effect can be done with a simple Ziploc bag, as described here (note this link is focused on using this technique for cooking, but it is translatable to your scenario). Drop your ice cubes in a bag, and then slowly lower the bag into a container of cold water (the colder the better, here, to minimize melting), leaving the seal exposed. I sometimes clip things onto the bag to weigh it down as well. Then begin closing the seal, and lower the bag further into the water as you continue sealing, so that only the unsealed portion is exposed. Finally complete the seal and you should have a reasonably low-oxygen environment to mitigate further degradation of your vermouth.

  • 1
    All that said... freezing will not cease oxidation
    – Ray
    May 17, 2012 at 23:38
  • 1
    Freezing it should allow it to only oxidize on the exposed surface areas. In an ice cube tray there is a lot of surface area, but if he were to put it in vacuum sealed ziplock bags as you suggest he should be complete fine.
    – Wulfhart
    May 18, 2012 at 0:24
  • I'm not sure it will freeze between these temperatures. I have heard of "destillation" by freezing - wine or mead is frozen, then the water builds ice which is removed, leaving a more concentrated alcoholic drink. So maybe the OP won't get frozen vermouth but will separate the vermouth into an aqueous and an alcoholic part, each with different flavor components dissolved in it.
    – rumtscho
    May 18, 2012 at 0:45
  • @rumtscho: I believe you are thinking of this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractional_freezing May 18, 2012 at 3:54
  • Thanks for you help so far! So basically it's the same as leaving it in a bottle: As long there is air, there is also oxidation. So how would you vacuum seal a ziplock? Is it enough to press the air out by hand before closing it?
    – Sven
    May 20, 2012 at 10:32

There is no easy answer to this problem. The consensus seems to be to try and buy small bottles where available (difficult) and always refrigerate. But throwing away after 2-3 weeks seems a bit extreme. Vermouth doesn't tend to go off completely straight away, it just gradually loses character. Its also worth noting that Sweet Vermouth tends to fair better on the shelf than Dry.


Vermouth is white or red wine that has been infused with a mixture of botanicals and fortified by the addition of a neutral alcohol like un-aged brandy or grain alcohol. The fact that it is fortified leads many people to believe that it is shelf-stable, that is simply not true. For a better vermouth experience, buy a high quality product such as one of the offerings from Boissiere, Noilly Prat, or Vya, and always buy from a source with high turnover. Vermouth should be used within 6-8 months of bottling or it begins to go off. Once opened, it should be stored in the refrigerator and away from light. Even when stored properly, it oxidizes like any other wine, so it is advisable to finish the bottle within a month after opening. Unfortunately, this means you should almost never order vermouth (or a cocktail containing it) in a random bar where the bottle is just sitting out and has been open for who knows how long. Find a cocktail establishment where they care about these things, or make it yourself at home.

  • Interesting that this answer bumped this question right now as I just watched a taste test of dry vermouth on America's Test Kitchen. The winner of the blind taste test was Gallo, followed by Noilly Prat. Vya and Boissiere were not recommended, Martini & Rossi was panned too. They suggest refrigeration and use within 3 months. I didn't know that, I've kept it on a shelf a lot longer than that and cooked with it. I've never noticed a problem. I don't drink it, so I guess I never paid close attention. I just opened a bottle, so I'll refrigerate it now that I know.
    – Jolenealaska
    May 10, 2014 at 10:54
  • +1 for storage and shelf-life info; -1 for unsolicited/unsubstantiated brand recommendations.
    – Aaronut
    May 11, 2014 at 21:26

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