When brands like Bombay Sapphire put on an event, you know it’s going to be good, particularly when they’ve teamed up with events company The Robin Collective and award-winning mixologist Geoff Robinson.
Last month saw the launch of the Bombay Sapphire Grand Journey, an immersive and imaginative evening, celebrating the countries where the gin’s botanicals originated from.
The experience begins as you’re shown to a platform, where the ‘Laverstoke Express’ is waiting, complete with steam, an exuberant conductor and frequent warnings to go to the loo beforehand as it’s a ‘non-stop journey’ – an entertaining way to say ‘you can’t get up mid performance as it will ruin it’ – fair enough, especially given the size of the G&Ts being given out on arrival.
Once aboard, the train stopped at several different locations, telling the stories about the botanical ingredients used to make Bombay Sapphire, from Morocco to Murcia, Spain to Saxony.
The journey included food from each of the regions, incorporating that particular botanical into the dish. The complex creations included a colour-changing lemon foam palate cleanser, baked almond crust terracotta tapas pots and an ‘ultimate’ gin & tonic. The train rocked and ‘scenery’ flew by on screens at the windows, a pretty impressive result.
The journey ended at the Laverstoke bar, where various Bombay cocktails were free-flowing, and we got a chance to chat to mixologist extraordinaire and the brains behind the drinks menu, Geoff Robinson.
‘I like to work with a blank canvas,’ he said, ‘where I can create a drink that looks great and is a sensory experience for the customer. It’s art to me, and there’s something really special about watching people consume and enjoy your art. What we’ve done with Bombay Sapphire is not replicate, but commemorate another time, be evocative of a geography.’
Hailing from Canada, Geoff loves London and aside from the Bombay tour is running Satan’s Whiskers in Bethnal Green. ‘I like neighbourhood venues, and think operators should be a lot more aware of the communities they’re part of.
‘At the end of the day, making good drinks in a nice place will never go out of fashion, and London is the greatest platform to do this.’
The Laverstoke Express has now moved on to Berlin, but the cocktails we sampled in the bar are available at the London locations below until 6th November, and are well worth a taste.
THE GILBERT SCOTT
The Tuscan Juniper
Rice washed BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin & spiced juniper cordial
The Chinese Liquorice
BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin, Escubac liqueur, bee pollen, turmeric & liquorice syrup, lime juice and a sprinkle of liquorice dust, served in a tea cup
COCKTAIL TRADING COMPANY
The Indonesian Cubeb
BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin, 3 pepper, chili and palm sugar syrup, lime, simple syrup & egg white