Embla chef Dave Verheul launches Saison Vermouth

Saison Vermouth is available in two flavour profiles.
Saison Vermouth is available in two flavour profiles. Photo: Dave Verheul

Vermouth has been a longtime obsession for Embla chef Dave Verheul. He has been serving his own small-batch, seasonal vermouths at Lesa (Embla's more serious upstairs sibling) for more than two years, but says the extra time during lockdown finally gave him the kick he needed to release his batches commercially.

There are now two kinds of Saison Vermouth on the shelves. Summer flowers '19 is made with the blossoms of marigolds and elderflowers plus dried apricots, whose essences have all been extracted in pure grape spirit, then blended into a moscato wine made to organic practices (though not certified) and embittered with the essential wormwood.

Fallen quinces extract the flavour from the raw ripe fruit as well as those put through Embla's wood oven for darker caramel tones.

Interested? It's popular. The first commercial run of 20 dozen bottles sold out within a fortnight. Verheul is restocking this week from the original 2019 summer flower essences.

Find Saison Vermouth at restaurants such as Moonah on the Bellarine Peninsula and Lesa, and at boutique bottle shops including Mr West, Punchin' Bottles and the Moon Wine Bar.