Since its inception in June 2011, Regal Rogue has turned vermouth in Australia and around the world on its head, breaking the perception of how vermouth is enjoyed in both bars and at home. Now, as the brand salutes ten years of Australian vermouth, Regal Rogue announces a new cocktail – The Australiano – to celebrate Australia’s rich drink history, and further push the boundaries around how vermouth is understood and enjoyed.
Regal Rogue has been led by the mantra of ‘Fearlessly Handcrafted’. That message has carried the brand through the highs and challenges that any brand striving for innovation can experience over the course of a 10-year journey. The Australiano was born as a celebration of all that the industry has achieved together since Regal Rogue’s start.
The Australiano is Regal Rogue’s take on the classic vermouth-based cocktail, the Americano, which was first served in the 1860s at Gaspare Campari’s bar in Milan. While an Americano is made up of equal parts vermouth, Campari and two parts soda, The Australiano is a three-step spritz, and importantly encourages the use of all-local ingredients. The cocktail celebrates Regal Rogue’s Australian heritage and provenance, encouraging bartenders and consumers to do the same and really explore what is available locally in their area with homegrown botanicals, seasonal fruit and local sodas.
Central to enjoying The Australiano is the occasion surrounding the drink. Regal Rogue founder Mark Ward suggests The Australiano is best enjoyed at that moment when the formality of the day ends, and the freedom of your own time begins.
“Think of this as Australiano hour – an update on the well-worn aperitivo hour enjoyed the world over with a “knock off” drink to punctuate the end of the working day. That moment where Regal gives way to Rogue,” says Ward.
The history between Australia and vermouth goes back a long way. Alberto Cinzano, of one of the world’s most lauded vermouth brands, made the voyage to Australia in the 1960s to create vermouth with Australian wine.
“This definitely influenced my decision to tell the vermouth story in Australia ten years ago, and we have made it a point to start to further build that Australian history. Regal Rogue honours Australia’s unique flavours with the use of native Australian botanicals and local organic wine,” says Ward.
Regal Rogue is made with See Saw organic wine (unwooded Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz and Cabernet Rosé) from Orange, NSW, which is blended with 17 organic botanicals and three Indigenous botanicals to make each varietal. These Indigenous botanicals – wild pepperberry, lemon myrtle and strawberry gum – are sourced with the help of Vic Cherikoff of Australian Functional Ingredients, ensuring the revenue goes back to the farmers and the communities themselves. Each sip is a celebration of Australia and champions minimal intervention or disruption to the grape, earth and local communities.
The use of native botanicals to create alcoholic drinks has a long history, with historians and Indigenous elders recovering evidence of unique Indigenous drinks going back thousands of years. In the last few years distillers and winemakers have begun to flavour gin and vermouth with these botanicals. Regal Rogue launches The Australiano to encourage further use of local products.
“The evolution of the Australian drinks industry means it is now possible to create versions of classic cocktails with homegrown products and native flavours. This is something I couldn’t have imagined ten years ago and certainly something to be celebrated,” says Ward.
Throughout the month of June, bars, restaurants and amatuer bartenders in their home bars, are encouraged to get behind the cause to create their own version of an Australiano, in a salute to vermouth – and vermouth drinkers – the world over.
Ward says the next 10 years for Regal Rogue are focused on deepening the links to organic partnerships, sustainable practices and directly supporting the Indigenous community in Australia. Regal Rogue is starting a Rogue Community Fund, pledging to invest in the future of the pillars key to Regal Rogue’s success: organics, sustainability, native botanicals and lost handcrafts. $1 from every The Australiano sold in participating bars globally will be donated to the Rogue Community Fund by Regal Rogue, who will work with teams in Australia, United Kingdom and United States of America to explore where these funds will make an impact.
To kick things off, all funds from June 2021 to June 2022 will be used to invest back into access to Australian superfoods in Indigenous communities with Australian Functional Ingredients founder Vic Cherikoff.
Progress of the Rogue Community Fund will be found at www.regalrogue.com/theaustraliano, and Regal Rogue would love to hear from its community with suggestions on people and organisations to support across its local markets.
To try The Australiano check out Rae’s on Wategos, Byron Bay; Never Never, Adelaide; or The Barber Shop, Sydney, or for the full list of participants see www.regalrogue.com/theaustraliano. Everyone is invited to join notable drinks personalities in showing the world how they ‘Australiano’ by posting their own creation online using the hashtag #TheAustraliano.
Image credit: Jess Kearney