February 16, 2015
Regal Rogue Tasting at the Avenue, Hove
Matt Simmons – 16/02/15
As if anyone really needs an excuse to drink on a crappy Monday afternoon but to be greeted in Avenue, Hove by an Elderflower and Regal Rogue Cooler, is definitely something else.
Mark “Lord” Ward is originally from Brighton and to our good fortune, has decided to bring his exciting new brand of Vermouth full circle.
Ward is the founder of Regal Rogue and is completely devoted to his creation, with a superior level of thought put into every detail of the product, through the packaging to the liquid itself.
And it pays off.
The Rogues started up in 2011 in Australia, even through a turbulent start still came through punching, winning 5 awards including the Sydney Design Award for Best Brand Identity within a few years of being established.
The heritage of the brand is very important and a prominent part of their image, using only native Australian wines and aromatics in the liquid.
With the rest of their portfolio coming through in May we were lucky enough to try the Bianco and the Rosso vermouths.
The Bianco has slight waxy undertones, a balanced sharpness and spice, and citrus notes. There are also savoury flavours like rosemary, sage and thyme, which are realised with the addition of ice. It’s light but still creamy and leaves a flavour on the mouth for some time.
“It will make a great wet Martini and goes well with prosseco” Ward claims “oh, but it makes an awful negroni, we’re going to be honest, we want to give you the whole picture here”
The Rosso, however serves as a nice addition to a negroni, or a Ro-Groni; the Rogues stamp on the drink. The ‘spicy red’ is made with port and Shiraz and carries a richness of dried fruit – cherries, figs, raisins – and gives their take on a cocktail less of a bitter taste that you would you get from using other vermouth brands. It is accessible but not boring, still carrying a subtle complexity and a sweetness not from the addition of extra sugar (with actually less than half the sugar content in RR than most other vermouths on the market). The complexity and sweetness comes through pepper berries and their chocolatey-coffee piquancy and cloves offering liqourice flavours.
This is their first batch and Ward says, as an innovative, developing, young company not to be surprised if the recipe of batch 2 is slightly different.
The charisma of ‘the Lord’ Ward is reflected in the brand and it’s ambition, aiming to bring vermouth drinking back to the mainstream, and that’s exactly where I can see it. Being drunk, straight, over ice with a slice of citrus, in a bespoke designed RR pitcher or as with the Rosso, a cocktail ingredient in the crisp Ro-Groni.
Ward remarks “ask anyone under 50 if they’d like a tipple on a vermouth and you’re likely to get a response along the lines of ‘what the hell is Vermouth?’. Ask anyone over 50 and they’ll probably respond ‘great, it’s acceptable to drink Vermouth again!’”.
Being in that former category I think there is an exciting new territory available for conquering by these Rogues. We are, especially at the bottom age of this demographic age bracket, an audience ready to be educated, informed and innovated by what we drink, something already apparent in the craft cocktail and, more recently, the craft beer movement.
I’m not saying that this Vermouth has the power to slay the Goliath of people smashing down Jaeger bombs and Vodka Red Bulls but this is something along the lines of what it stands for, whether it realises it or not.
And it’s seriously good stuff.
The Rogues have nurtured a product alongside experts with over 60 years of vermouth making experience, which is definitely apparent in the produce tasted today.
Traditionally Regal, Innovatively Rogue.
Check out their website for more information and check out the BNBA for updates on future news here of their movement here in Brighon.