It’s a rather special year for celebrations in the UK this year. What with the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, many drinks brands will, no doubt, be celebrating in their own special way. The English Whisky Company, for example, are releasing a new and unique Diamond Jubilee whisky.
Bombay Sapphire have come up with an idea that not only celebrates the reign of HM Elizabeth II, but taps into the growing trend of Spanish style Gin & Tonics, served with lots of ice in a balloon glass, also known as Gin Tonicas.
The company asked five British “creatives” to work alongside UK brand ambassador, Sam Carter, to come up with five unique Gin & Tonic recipes under the title “Ginbilee”. I was lucky enough to be invited along to their launch, to meet the creators and try their concoctions. This event took place at the The Rib Room Bar & Restaurant, which is one of Knightsbridge’s famous bars and is renowned for it’s roast rib of beef.
Anna Bullusʼ Bombay Sapphire Souchong Fizz
This was developed with Anna Bullus who invented the worldʼs first process that transforms chewed chewing gum into a usable plastic (Gumdrop).
50ml Bombay Sapphire, 100ml Fevertree Tonic Water, 15ml Lapsang Souchong tea syrup, 15ml Lemon Juice.
Method: Add syrup, lemon juice and gin to glass. Stir and add ice and then Tonic. Stir for a final time. Garnish with a straw and the 2 lemon slices. Serve.
I thought this was delicious; I am a big fan of tea-related cocktails and soft drinks and I’ve experimented with Lapsang Souchong liqueurs and syrups before, but I’d never thought of combining it with a Gin & Tonic. What I really liked about this drink was that it had a great equilibrium between the smoky tea and the fresh lemon juice, with the gin and tonic giving these flavours a strong, refreshing backdrop.
Robbie Honeyʼs Bombay Sapphire Orange Blossom
This was developed with Robbie Honey is one of Londonʼs most sought-after florists.
50ml Bombay Sapphire, 100ml Fevertree Lemon Tonic Water, and 10ml Orange Blossom Honey.
Garnish: 1 straw, 1 very long orange peel twist spritzed over the glass for aroma and orange blossom flowers in the drink for garnish.
Method: Add gin and honey and stir, then add ice and top-up with Lemon Tonic. Garnish.
I found this to be a little sweeter than a typical Gin & Tonic, with the orange blossom adding an array of floral, citrus notes and contributing to the confectionery air of this drink. Nonetheless, I found it very refreshing and easy to drink.
David Carterʼs Bombay Sapphire The Last Rasp
This was developed with David Carter an internationally acclaimed interior designer and founder/owner of 40 Winks boutique.
50ml Bombay Sapphire, 100ml Fevertree Tonic Water,
3 fresh whole raspberries + 2 for garnish, and 3 fresh basil leaves.
Garnish: 1 straw, 2 raspberries and a large basil sprig
Method: Muddle 3 raspberries in the bottom of a glass. Add gin stir to mix fully, then add ice. Add 3 basil leaves and top with the tonic. Stir once again to combine flavours.
Garnishing with a straw, 2 fresh raspberries and a large, flamboyant basil sprig.
Visually, this was very impressive, and an appetising scent was quickly evident from the raspberry and basil leaves. Regarding the taste, as the smell suggested, this was a very crisp, slightly leafy, Gin & Tonic with a touch of tartness coming from the raspberry. As pleasant to drink as it was to look at.
Fiona Leahyʼs Bombay Sapphire Diamond Rose
This was developed with Fiona Leahy who runs a creative event design and production agency.
50ml Bombay Sapphire, 100ml Fevertree Tonic Water, a dash (to taste) of Rose Flower Water*, 5-6 medium sized mint leaves (clapped to release aroma), and Rose Flower Water diamond ice cubes with a mint leaf suspended in the middle.*
Garnish: 1 straw, 1 large lemon wedge and a large flourish of fresh mint leaf sprigs
Method: Pour gin and Rose Flower Water into glass and stir to mix. Add ice (or Rose Flower Water diamond ice cubes*, if you have them) and the clapped mint leaves and stir well. Do not
muddle, break down or bruise the mint. Top-up with tonic and stir one final time.
This was quite leafy and herbal, and drinking it felt a bit like strolling through a rose garden. There was also a slightly savoury element towards the end.
Rhea Thiersteinʼs Bombay Sapphire Zesty Surprise
This was developed with Rhea Thierstein who creates highly imaginative sets, costumes and props
50ml Bombay Sapphire, 15ml vanilla sugar syrup, 10 fresh grapefruit segments 100ml Fevertree Tonic Water.
Garnish: 1 straw, small, triangular grapefruit segments, and 1 vanilla pod as a stirrer.
Method: Pour the syrup and gin into glass and stir to mix. Add the grapefruit segments, ice and tonic. Stir for one final time to combine. Garnish with a straw and a vanilla pod.
The grapefruit and vanilla combination form a transmogrification to produce a dark chocolate flavour.
I got the grapefruit notes to start with, followed by a rich, dark chocolate note with a hint of nuttiness. This was very unusual and reminded me of some chocolate gin that I had once. In fact, the nuttiness of the chocolate was so substantial that it reminded me of peanut butter cups (a favourite confection of mine). Unusual and unexpected; exactly what it was designed to be.
Earl of Essex
Inspired by the Earl Grey Tea Syrup at the RibRoom and named after a member of the New Sheridan Club.
50ml Bombay Sapphire, 100ml Fevertree Tonic Water, and 15ml Earl Grey Syrup.
Garnish: Orange pieces and peel.
Refreshing and crisp, but also quite bitter from the tannins in the tea and the orange peel, oil and flesh. This was a crisp, cutting Gin & Tonic, with the floral Earl Grey rising up at the end. Rather different, but still quite tasty. If you like Earl Grey, orange and gin then this is for you.
The Richard Briars
This was inspired by the GinMonkey’s Rhubarb and Ginger Gin & Tonic, which, in itself, was rather tasty.
50ml Bombay Sapphire, 120ml Fevertree Tonic Water, 10ml Vanilla Syrup, and 10ml Rhubarb Syrup.
In this drink, you have the crisp, refreshing Gin & Tonic flavour, which is then subtly accented by hints of rhubarb and custard. The flavour of the old-fashioned sweet comes through, it’s neither overpowering, nor too sickly. Another G&T that is unusual, unexpected, but delicious.
Pepper & Ginger
This was created by Fiona Hicks of The Lady magazine.
50ml Bombay Sapphire, 100ml Fevertree Tonic Water, and 15ml King’s Ginger Liqueur (the only ginger I have in at present). Garnish with slices of yellow, red and green peppers.
This was a delicious, almost savoury, cocktail with plenty of kick, spice and warmth. Despite this, it was still very refreshing, like a cool, crisp salad, and the peppers really made a difference.
The Bombay Sapphire ‘Ginbilee’ masterclasses will be held on Saturday 19 May and Saturday 26 May 2012 from 2.30pm-5pm (max. 10-12 people per class). To reserve a place, please call 020 7858 7250 or email email@example.com
Making Syrups & Flavoured Ice
Brew 250ml of boiling water with 3 slit vanilla pods for 20 minutes. Add 500g of fine caster sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved, then leave to cool. Take out the vanilla pods and pour into a sterilised container. This will keep in the fridge for up to ten weeks.
Tea Syrups (Lapsang/Earl Grey)
To make the Lapsang Souchong/Earl Grey tea syrup – brew 500ml of boiling water with 2 Lapsang Souchong tea bags (approx. 12g fresh loose tea) for 5 minutes. Take out bags and add 500g of fine caster sugar. Stir till the sugar is dissolved then leave to cool. Pour into a sterilised container and keep in the fridge for up to ten weeks.
Brew one large stalk of peeled rhubarb (chopped into pieces) with 250ml for 20 mins. Add 200g of sugar and stir. Leave to cool, then refrigerate.
Rose Flower Water Ice
To make the Rose Flower Water diamond ice cubes – take your clean diamond shaped ice cube tray (you can use other shapes if you wish!), place a clapped mint leaf into each segment. Fill with Rose Flower Water and place in the freezer for around 9-10 hours to freeze depending on your machine.