I think it’s fair to say that many cocktail enthusiasts have never even tasted vermouth on its own–even a tiny sip. People must have visions of pickle juice and olive brine stuck in their minds when they cringe at the thought of trying it, which is too bad. A good vermouth is really good. Alone. Over ice. With a bit of soda. But offer it to friends and they’ll turn up their noses. That’s why I like to trick my guests (in a nice way!) by offering them an aperitif when they come to my house for dinner. Only once they give an opinion about the spicy, herbal, delicious drink they’re quaffing do I reveal that the mystery brew is vermouth.