Notes on Summer Solstice

by Julian Davies

So we just had Summer Solstice. The longest day of the year is most commonly celebrated on June 21st and it's a lovely day. People tend to have little celebrations of some sort, maybe sunset parties, a little dance... who knows; oddly not that many people seem to do the whole Stonehenge thing, in comparison to the Spring Equinox, and I'm sure there's a good reason for that I don't know...

Anyway, Summer Solstice - or Litha - is interesting to us fans of Ostara (vermouth), because it's another marker on the famous "Wheel of the Year" our pagan ancestors used to mark the passing of time.

We used this wheel, or rather the name for the Spring Equinox, as our name, because it's a wonderful time of year when so many of the amazing things that go into our vermouth are in full growth - nettles look gorgeous, meadowsweet is out, hawthorns are verdant.... it all just felt so right.

So it's natural for us to take great interest in the rest of the important days and to mark their passing. As for me, I sat at the top of the South Downs, in Sussex, and had a glass of white vermouth, on its own with lots of ice and a slice of lemon, and it was blissful. I was able to take a moment to enjoy nature in all her finery, take in the sun as it set, and have a lovely drink in the meantime, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

One year, I've set myself the target of having a big Summer Solstice party for Ostara. Drinks will be flowing, vermouth and tonic, martinis, vermouth "as it comes"... Obviously this won't be as big as our Spring parties but we can assume the weather will be better..

Until then - a cheeky Ostara in the garden to reward myself for a week well spent, and one that included the longest day of the year, will have to suffice!