Even a legend needs a reinvention now and then. As part of a series of six sessions to seek out the most inspired gin-infused cocktails, Bombay Sapphire organised tastings at various nightspots over half a year. We were invited to the barkeep at Third and Sixth and treated to a fresh spin on gin, the storied 17th century liquor.
Bombay Sapphire is a “London Gin” which I learned is the gold standard for Gin distillation. As a legal definition, it specifies the maximum amount of flavour additives and guarantees the natural origin of the ingredients used which in this case consists of 10 different botannicals.
The classic Gin and Tonic was up first. The uncomplicated, clean, unadulterated taste served to reacquaint us with the timeless taste of gin. The cool, menthol-like flavour of the juniper berries were subdued by the tang of the added lime wedge, and the biting flavours of raw gin softened by the effervescence of the paired tonic water. To top it off and perhaps to allude to the theme of the forthcoming drinks, a stick of cinnamon was thrown into the goblet-sized cocktail glass.
As with all social affairs, the company makes a significant contribution. There was an industrious and idealistic young man seated opposite me at the table with his partner and an Italian director for a company constructing saunas and spa facilities, headquartered in the Italian/Austrian Alps.
As the featured cocktail creations made their debut, an explanation of ingredients and inspiration was given as an introduction.
The Hulk, true to its namesake, was green, albeit a pale green. The mixture of pineapple juice, lime juice and orgeat syrup produced a fruity base which to me tasted very much like honeydew. The more eclectic ingredients of ginger, green chilli and liquorice bitters toughened up the drink, making it taste a lot stronger and providing a jolt. It is a more masculine drink than the next and conjured images of a humid tropical bar with an overhead rattan fan rotating slowly set in a slightly chaotic city. The drink was accompanied by servings of thick sliders of beef burgers between toasted buns, drizzled with a dark BBQ sauce.
The final feature in the line up was G8N (pronounced as “gan”). This was a friendlier drink and garnered favourable responses from everyone at the table. It has the colour of pink guava, and I tasted the pink flush of sakura flowers in my mind. This was a markedly sweeter drink, with sugar syrup, grapefruit juice and rose water counted amongst its constituents.
In keeping with the evocation of the exotic Asia and spices, G8N was served with a dash of pepper, a stalk of lemongrass and wasabi. Not nearly as overpowering as the robust Hulk, the spiciness took a back seat to the more amiable and was merely hinted at. Thin-crust Italian styled pizzas went well with this cocktail of simple fresh flavours of crust, basil and tomato.
As clear as crystal, the theme of the night was spice. Spices that speak of an exotic earthly Asia, tropical and humid. The type of Asian evening that calls for a G & T. With the media harping on the death of a much beloved and respected individual, I’d say this night I celebrate a full life with a toast of gin.