South Warwickshire business owners aim to shake up the cocktail scene
An English Earl is celebrating his Brazilian roots as part of an exciting new collaboration set to cause a stir in the world of cocktails.
William Seymour, Earl of Yarmouth, from Alcester, and Matthew Hiscoe, owner of Café Cocktail in Stratford-upon-Avon, have created a perfect blend by mixing their skills to create a unique drink using William’s internationally award-winning St Maur elderflower liqueur.
Lord Yarmouth, who counts among his ancestors Henry VIII’s wife Jane Seymour, is the eldest son of the Marquess of Hertford, from Ragley Hall in Warwickshire, his family’s seat since the 18th century. Less well known is William’s Brazilian heritage, on his mother’s side.
William established the St Maur brand with his wife Kelsey after first producing a drink uniquely for guests on their wedding day. And now St Maur is the main focus for Café Cocktail’s Cocktail of the Week, from Wednesday 22nd March, in the form of the newly created Flor Antiga cocktail, a drink made using St Maur and Cachaça, a Brazilian spirit from the rum family. The ingredients and name - which means elderflower in Portuguese - were specially chosen to reflect William’s roots from both sides of his family. William has fond memories of living in Rio de Janeiro as a child.
Entrepreneur William said: “In this country people would be familiar with my family’s English heritage, and having been associated with Ragley Hall for much of my life, many people will assume I’m all very English. Actually I’m half Brazilian. It is a heritage to celebrate, especially with my own boys as they grow up in the heart of England.
“My Brazilian heritage is no less important than my English one. It’s part of who I am and I’m proud of it. It opens the door to the world of an interesting and exciting culture.
“I vividly remember visiting Brazil as a youngster with the expectation of staying for an extended holiday of a couple of months, and then being told we were going to stay and live there!
“It was a huge culture shock at the age of seven seeing the stark contrast between being brought up in the English countryside and finding ourselves living in one of the most high-density population cities in the world with poverty literally right on your doorstep. That impression of poverty has stayed with me.”
Since opening Café Cocktail in Greenhill Street with his wife Ginnene and his mother Jill last summer, Matthew has been passionate about bringing his 20 years of hospitaliy experience, both as a Riyal Acadamy of Culinary Arts Specialised Chef graduate and as expert mixologist to help showcase local brands in his new cocktails.
Matthew said: “I've always had a passion for cocktails and my chef experience helps as there is actually huge crossover between the two disciplines. Once you understand flavours, provenance and balance, you can then apply this to your creations.
Matthew added: “We love St Maur. Elderflower liqueur is a really versatile ingredient for cocktails. Colloquially among cocktail bartenders elderflower liqueur has earned the moniker of bartender’s ketchup, as you can add a little bit to almost anything and it will taste great. That’s one reason why it’s so wonderful to have found something that’s of such high quality and local.
“I’m so happy to be working with William. What’s great is we genuinely love each other’s businesses. There are actually very few elderflower liqueurs on the market and there are even fewer good ones, so to find something great is fabulous. It’s a bartender’s dream to be able to find a good liqueur because they’re the heart and soul of so many cocktails.”
Described as ‘a little drop of England’s heart,’ St Maur has already earned William and Kelsey a number of prestigious industry awards, including Gold at the Global Spirits Awards in Las Vegas.
Flor Antiga is Café Cocktail’s Cocktail of The Week from Wednesday March 22nd but is also available for a preview taste upon request, on Mother’s Day, on Friday, March 19th.
And it is hoped the latest collaboration will lead to long-term partnering between the two south Warwickshire businesses.
William added: “It was fun playing around with variations of the cocktail until we landed on something we both liked. The Flor Antigas is something I’m really excited about. It’s fresh, it’s interesting and it offers a personal touch for me. It’s something I have a personal connection with and I’m proud of that connection.”