Traditionally, the bitter characteristic of dry vermouth is imparted by wormwood (Artemesia absinthium
), an herb also used in absinthe
. The name "vermouth" in fact arose from the German word for this plant, and European law still requires wormwood to be an ingredient in vermouth (EU 251/2014
). In the United States, vermouth is more loosely defined as "flavored with herbs and other natural aromatic flavoring materials" (27 CFR 4.21
). Accordingly, domestically produced vermouths may not contain wormwood at all—although some fans of the classic spirit might argue that such products are not technically vermouth.