The chances are, Dapper Chapper reader that I don’t need to extoll the virtues of brunch to you. After all, what’s not to like about a not-as-early-as-breakfast soiree, without the afternoon slump that looms over lunch? Resistance is futile, folks.
Given my millennial disposition, I was very happy to join vermouth brand Regal Rogue during Wine Week at their Ultimate Rogues Brunch, ‘cos the only thing superior to brunch is a boozy brunch.
Regal Rogue is a vermouth brand you’ll soon spot in Waitrose (the bottles are distinctively wrapped in paper) and one that’s already found fans via Selfridges and The Whiskey Exchange. Blending aromatics with Australian fine wines, Regal Rogue’s vermouths span the colour chart with a ‘Lively’ White, ‘Daring’ Dry, ‘Bold’ Red and ‘Wild’ Rosé. Billed as an alternative to gin, I was keen to try the different varieties.
The aptly named Rogue Terrace venue was nestled in East London and the Regal Rogue team did a superb job of creating an elegant ‘lounge’ theme with a slightly industrial feel. Already shaping up to be a promising next chapter of my Dapper Bar odyssey (the last chapter is here, if you like gin), what was particularly sunny morning started off with a Lively Spritzer. The first of Regal Rogue’s carefully selected seasonal fruit aperitifs, this was a blend of Lively White – a citrus and floral vermouth, served with fresh grapefruit, lemon, sparkling wine and rosemary for a sharp/sweet finish.
The lively start whetted the appetite for what only can be described as a brunch ‘banquet.’ Sweet treats included hazelnut and wattle seed pain au chocolat, pandan cream doughnuts as well as fresh fruit and granola followed by baked eggs and dahl, crispy halloumi and soy coconut mushrooms. It all went down very well indeed.
The sweeter stuff at the start called for a drier interlude, and the Rogues delivered with the ‘Daring Dry’ blend. This punchy, fresh cocktail of apple, celery, spinach and cucumber with Daring Dry vermouth – a savoury and earthy number made with Sauvignon Blanc and a blend of herbs and spices, was a perfect refresher. The Bold Red went down well too; a dry red vermouth with aromatic spice and dried fruit, blended with blood orange and fig. The blood orange gave it a summery zing, but this vermouth strikes me as a winter party piece.
Winter is however a way off, and we’ve still got a healthy slice of summer ahead of us. What better time to go rogue from your usual G&T the regal way than the months of post-work drinks, parties on the roof terrace and picnics in the sun. And brunch, obvs.