English Hedgerow Vermouth
The idea for Ostara English Hedgerow Vermouth was born in the East Sussex countryside where founder Julian Davies grew up. A country boy at heart, Julian loves and is proud to champion the glorious part of the world that raised him, and Ostara is redolent of the fields and hedgerows around Lewes, the South Downs, and where he spends as much time as possible.
After a 15-year career spent in a variety of UK and Global roles with some of the largest behemoths of the drinks industry and most recently in gin, Julian wanted to create something that would offer a truly different choice to consumers; not to launch yet another gin, nor to jump on the no-lo bandwagon, but to look to our past and our environment to create something that loves and pays homage to our beautiful countryside.
Thus, Ostara was born. It’s a story of love for nature, and the formative memories our countryside can shape. The name comes from what our ancient ancestors called the Spring Equinox – representing as it does that wonderful time of rebirth, of growth, and of new potential – things we could all use a little of at the moment perhaps! The liquid takes a blend of fine English wines from vineyards across the South East (masterfully blended by Julian and Cassidy Dart MW) and to that adds a concoction of countryside herbs and plants such as nettle, hawthorn leaf, burdock root, hyssop, thyme, dandelion, lavender, coriander seed, cassia, angelica root, wormwood, meadowsweet, southernwood and bilberry to create vermouths which are true to the style but eminently lighter, more approachable, and more attractive to a broader base of consumers.
The development of Ostara took over 2 years of painstaking research, trial and error, wine blending, botanical macerating, lockdown hiatus and prototype tasting to get to today’s juncture: a new approach and a house style of vermouth which is bound to breathe life in to a familiar but slightly underestimated category.
One bottle of stunning Red vermouth. White English wine is enhanced with the addition of “green” notes of nettle and given amazing colour and fruitiness by damson, bilberry, hawthorn berries, and the more “traditional” vermouth spices: nutmeg, cassia, and black tea. You’ll taste the “bite” of wormwood again, and this time a little vanilla at the end for that warming, smooth finish.
Unlike any vermouth you’ll have tasted before, with grassy green notes primarily from nettles, and a lovely “hedgey” taste of dandelion and burdock. The greenness is balanced out with a citrussy edge given by lemon peel and lavender, and something you’ll recognise from your favourite gin – juniper. Oak chip, meadowsweet and thyme give a rounded, herby finish, all of which is wrapped up in the frisson of wormwood, which is what makes vermouth, well, vermouth.