Masterchef winner Steven Edwards has teamed up with former councillor Andrew Wealls to create a new vermouth which went on sale for the first time this week.
Mr Edwards, 34, who owns Etch, in Church Road, Hove, helped to create SE Dry – one of the three vermouths made by the London Vermouth Company (LVC).
And once the latest coronavirus lockdown is over, Etch is expected to be among the first restaurants to serve the new drink.
Mr Edwards, who won Masterchef: The Professionals in 2013, when he was just 26, said: “This has been an exciting project for me. I’m so proud of what we’ve created.
“I wanted to use the thought and effort I put into creating dishes for my restaurants into creating a bright refreshing vermouth that is up there with the best. I think we’ve nailed it!”
The No 3 SE Dry is made with “a South Downs Bacchus, five simple botanicals, Hampshire Bramleys, Essex gooseberries and Dulwich honey to take modern vermouth making to new levels”.
It is described as “a mouth-watering thirst-quenching delight that you’ll finish rather quicker than you should. But don’t worry too much – vermouth is half the strength of most spirits.”
LVC’s vermouths can be enjoyed by themselves – neat with ice – or with a mixer or in a cocktail. It’s ideal for a reverse martini – with two parts vermouth to one part gin, according to Mr Wealls, 55, who spent eight years on Brighton and Hove City Council.
He started his latest venture, LVC, with two friends – Guy Abrahams and Ben Leask – and he said: “I’m so excited about what Steven has developed. He’s been a dream to work with – and I’m in awe of his skill in developing this new vermouth with us.
“I know our drink will be a great success here, not only because of Steven’s reputation as a great flavour-maker but also simply because it tastes so great.’
As well as their collaboration with Steven Edwards, they also worked with cocktail guru Camille Hobby-Limon, who lives in Hove.
She helped them create their No 1 Amber Limon and No 2 Camille’s Red vermouths which, along with No 3 SE Dry, make up the LVC range.
Mr Leask said that he was confident that craft vermouth would flourish and go down as well as craft gin and craft vodka – not least in cocktails.
One suggestion involves a new twist on the classic martini, with five parts London dry gin – or even Brighton Gin – and one part vermouth, not forgetting a twist of lemon and olives.
Mr Leask said: “I know once bartenders try our new vermouths, their imaginations will run wild. I can’t wait to sample some of their innovations once things return to normal.”
To find out more or to buy a bottle – the prices range from £24 to £26 – visit the LVC website.
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