Straight Up: Wild Carrot at the Four Seasons Hampshire

by Stephen Doig, The Telegraph, December 29, 2017

It’s testament to the flourish of mixologist James Edwards that the arrival of the innocuous sounding “The Garden” cocktail is met with curious glances, double takes and patrons venturing over to enquire just what this wildly inventive concoction is.

A burnished metal tankard with soil spilling over the top, erupting with foliage and a mini carrot atop (who needs a cocktail umbrella?), it looks more suiting to the potting shed than the sumptuous surroundings of Wild Carrot, the Four Seasons Hampshire’s recently refurbished bar.

Virtual Event

Pivoting Back to Travel, The Destination Weddings & Honeymoons Edition

2020 put the nuptial plans of thousands upon thousands of couples on hold, but with the promise of widespread vaccine distribution in the near future, it’s time to get back to planning and ensure your clients live out the destination weddings & honeymoons of their dreams. Hear from top suppliers and destinations on wedding venue & ceremony options, romantic destinations & resorts and more when you watch the event on-demand.

Thankfully, the earthly delights of its appearance don’t parlay into the taste; the crumbling “soil” on top is burnt chocolate, with sloe gin, violet and lavender making for a hit of herbally freshness. The starting point, as with all the cocktails on the carefully edited menu, is the history of the environment.

The majestic Georgian house sits in 500 acres of rolling English countryside, Dogmersfield Park, a site that was mentioned in the Domesday Book and was the meeting point of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon.

The bucolic surroundings of this former girls' school - the walled gardens and vegetable gardens - are the starting point for the ingredients, which make the most of the natural bounty on offer; blackberries from the estate are transformed into a liqueur, for example.

The menu too - themed as a storybook filled with botanical illustrations, entitled “The Cause of Lady Ecton’s Madness” - alludes to the rich history of the park.

The Thyme and Date cocktail (see what they did there?) employs those ingredients because they were common place in cooking at the time the foundations were laid, while Meeting of the Monarchs references the fateful day when Henry VII met his soon-to-be bride.

That particular blend - employing bourbon whiskey and a reduction of Campari and Aperol together (Italophiles look away now) - is Wild Carrot’s take on the classic Old Fashioned. Other traditional cocktails are given a unique spin throughout - there are also twists on the Sidecar and the Kir Royale. 

The Aged Negroni is a heady affair; the Campari has been aged in whiskey barrels, creating a smokier and richer effect than the usually fresh, bitter taste.

The great outdoors (sit around for too long and a staff member will urge you to rent a bike or book in a horse-riding session) also informs the decor, freshly re-designed by interior architect Martin Brudnizki, whose work includes Soho House, The Ivy Chelsea Garden and Sexy Fish.

Foliage wallpaper and wood panelling could be straight from a country house, but have been juxtaposed with a gleaming, gold, 1930s-style bar with pink-tinged marble and sleek bar stools.

Away from the darkly lit Wild Carrot bar, the restaurant offers fare that a 16th-century tyrannical monarch would heartily approve of: a festive-looking partridge pie; oozing, crimson-tinged bavette steak; and indulgent truffle mac and cheese - ideal for soaking up the effects of the potent Wild Carrot concoctions.

In such pastoral environs (coaches filled with day trippers on route to Downton Abbey’s real life home, Highclere Castle are a regular occurrence) it would be easy for Wild Carrot to rest on its perfectly-tended-to laurels and supply a steady drip of standard issue cosmos and espresso martinis. Instead, it’s a botanical adventure, with a hint of history on the side.

Straight Up bar reviews 


This article was written by Stephen Doig from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

Related Articles

The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch Debuts the “Après After Dark” Experience

InterContinental Launches Worldly Classics Cocktail Program

London Spirit: New Immersive Cocktail Experience at The Berkeley

The King Cole Bar at The St. Regis Mexico City Relaunches

Suggested Articles:

The holistic spa treatment selection is the latest initiative from The Nautilus, building upon the island’s already established overwater Solasta Spa.

Silversea announced that its new expedition ship, Silver Origin, will sail two enhanced 2021 itineraries in the Galapagos Islands, starting June 19.

Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong has announced the completion of the first phase of its top-to-bottom renovation. Read more here.