Albourne Estate has unveiled the first Sussex vermouth.
Named 40 after the number of botanicals with which it has been infused, it has already won its first award in The Spirits Business Master 2017 blind-tasting competition.
It was created by Alison Nightingale, a mother-of-three, who owns the family-owned 11-hectare vineyard in Shaves Wood Lane, Albourne.
She told the Middy that vermouth was ‘becoming fashionable again’.
She said: “Everyone was drinking vermouth straight or with a mixer back when Leonard Rossiter famously threw his Cinzano over Joan Collins in those iconic TV adverts.
“But then it took the back seat as people became more accustomed to drinking wine at home.
“Now as we have seen with Campari and Aperol, the classics popular in the seventies, there is a revival of interest in vermouth.
“Vermouth bars are opening in London, following the trend in New York and it is a popular ingredient in Negroni, the cocktail of the day.
“A lot of people will be drinking vermouth in cocktails and not realising it.
“Our mission is to remind people to really appreciate the blend of botanicals by drinking vermouth straight.
“Many people will be enthusiastic once this is re-discovered and pairing 40 with food will be a big part of this.”
40 uses many herbs and other ingredients which are grown in the English countryside – including rosemary, thyme, rose petals and chamomile.
“We spent hours blind tasting the vermouth using different botanicals, comparing it with the competition to release a product that can write a new vermouth-era for Sussex, England and beyond,” added Alison.
“A lot of people nowadays have no idea how to drink vermouth and our job is to show what a delicious and versatile drink it is, which works really well with many different types of food.”
Alison, who has a background in marketing, studied viticulture at Plumpton College before finding and transforming what she later called Albourne Estate from a farm to a vineyard.
For more information visit www.albourneestate.co.uk