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Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Types Of Alcohol For Christmas Cakes

    Hi! I want to start making my Christmas cake, but really want to try using red vermouth (Martini Rosso) this year. Is it suitable in terms if alcohol content, so to make in advance and then feed the cake leading up to Christmas? Many thanks!

    From the nigella team:

    Red vermouth is a fortified wine and has an alcohol content by volume (ABV) of around 18%, similar to sherry. More normally an alcohol such as brandy or whisky is used for feeding a Christmas cake and these have an ABV of closer to 40%.

    It is certainly fine to use red vermouth in the making of the cake, either to soak the fruit or to add to the batter. The alcohol content does not affect the cake at this point and the spices used in red vermouth would be quite appropriate for Christmas. For feeding the cake it depends how long you would like to keep the cake for. Higher alcohol spirits have a very long shelf life and so will not spoil if used to feed a Christmas cake that is kept for several months. However vermouth tends to last between 3 and 6 months, depending on the conditions that it is kept in, so we would suggest that you only use the vermouth to feed the cake if you are planning to eat the cake within 3 months. It is also important that the cake is kept in a cool place as this will help to extend the life of the vermouth.

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