A WARWICKSHIRE aristocrat has learned the art of mixology to launch cocktail making master classes using his own brand of elderflower liqueur.
The Earl of Yarmouth, William Seymour, is creating a stir among customers with his St Maur virtual experience which includes the brand’s own take on the appropriately named English Martini, made with gin and fresh rosemary.
Described as ‘a little drop of England’s heart,’ St Maur Elderflower Liqueur has already earned its proud producers, William and his wife Kelsey four prestigious industry awards, including most recently, The Las Vegas Global Spirits Gold Award.
The Earl and Countess of Yarmouth who count among their ancestors Henry VIII’s wife Jane Seymour, established the business in lockdown after first producing the drink uniquely for guests on their wedding day.
William, 28, is the eldest son of the Marquess of Hertford, and grew up at Ragley Hall, his family’s seat since the 18th century. But St Maur signals an exciting new direction for the Earl who is driven by his vision to build not just a livelihood, but a ‘new legacy’ to be proud of for his two sons.
Now the self-taught mixologist is embracing his new skills and is looking forward to passing on his knowledge and passion to others.
He said: “I’ve been enjoying cocktails for most of my adult life. Except, of course, until recently I’ve been on the other side of the bar ordering them! Now that position is switched, and I can’t find myself regretting the move at all.
“It’s a bit like food. If you’re a foodie, which I am, then learn to cook, explore what you like and share what you produce with those you love to be with. Same applies to cocktails. Whilst with food I have had some training, with cocktails I’m mostly self-taught.
He added: “Since we’ve been marketing St Maur, learning more about the skill and art of making cocktails has been a logical choice and it makes sense for us to bring that expertise in-house. I was the first to step up to the shaker for that!
“When you do get more involved you really get to appreciate the expertise and creativity of some professional mixologists who are out there. There was also a worldwide pandemic going on when we brought St Maur to market, with lockdown in full effect, so we were limited in the extent we could bring a professional mixologist on board, and so a hobby became part of my job.
“I am not a scientist nor a natural chemist, so learning has come to me via taste and personally feeling and trying what works and does not.”
From the recipe for the liqueur, to the designs on the label, and the name itself, St Maur brings together 1,000 years of heritage and family.
Indeed, provenance is core to the brand’s success. The map co-ordinates on the logo lead to Ladies Wood and an elder grove in the ancient Ragley Woodlands, now cared for by Earl of Yarmouth Estates. Here and in the hedgerows at their family farm in Alcester, in early summer, you’ll find the elderflowers being feverishly harvested by friends and family members.
There’s also a red-legged partridge on the bottle, a bird successfully introduced to England in the 19th century by an ancestor Francis Seymour, the 5th Marquess, and now the brand’s mascot.
St Maur is a contemporary liqueur made to be versatile, built around the same four components needed to make a cocktail – a base spirit, a sweet and sour element, flavour and look. It can be enjoyed with all kinds of cocktails, and long drinks, in a simple fizz with soda, tonic or ginger ale, ‘royale’ with champagne, on the rocks, or on its own.
William added: “When you have your own award-winning liqueur, you want to see exactly how far it can take you. That started a couple of years ago now for me with St Maur, and the answer: still happily exploring and a long way to go!”
Other recommendations for cocktails and ways to drink St Maur include Fire and Ice; St Maur and Soda; Hugo St Maur; The Laughing Cavalier; Pink Moon; St Maur Soixante Quinze; Royal Mistress; Dandy Partridge; St Valentine’s Sour; The Earls’ Martini and The Can Do Cocktail which was specially created in association with Riding For The Disabled Association.
“ ‘Can Do’ sums up the spirit of the RDA and captures our ethos at Drink St Maur as well,” said William.
To view St Maur’s cocktail recipe suggestions visit here
Further information about St Maur or to enquire about the virtual cocktail master classes, visit here