If you prefer your martinis extra dry, then the idea of sipping vermouth on the rocks might sound a little off, like drinking ketchup from the bottle just because you pour it on your fries. But straight, on the rocks, or with a splash of soda is how most vermouth-producing countries — France, Italy, and Spain — drink the stuff. In fact, there are bars entirely devoted to it. Which is no surprise: Vermouth is wine after all, wine that's been flavored with bitter herbs and spices, slightly sweetened, and fortified with a high-proof spirit. Mixing it with liquor is an American phenomenon. Since it's wine, you should treat it as such. Don't get the cheap stuff (it's no good for anything), and keep the bottles chilled so it will last longer. One last piece of advice: Vermouth is best enjoyed in the late afternoon or early evening, the time that Barcelonans and Argentines call "the vermouth hour." We don't know exactly why vermouth tastes better just before sunset. But trust us, it does, and here are the best ways to enjoy it.