We take the tour of the remarkable new Bombay Sapphire distillery in Laverstoke. It’s a place of taste and eco responsibiity and we even  pick up some gin cocktail recipes for Christmas

The gin isn’t actually blue. This is something I discovered much to my disappointment when I was first ordered gin in a pub. It’s just the tint of the glass bottle. But then Bombay Sapphire was always smart with its marketing.

Today as Bombay Sapphire’s ‘Senior Brand Ambassador’ Sam Carter picks up a bottle to make a cocktail, it literally lights up electric blue’It’s a little gadget stuck to the bottom,’ he explains. ‘You pick up the bottle and it comes on. Great for dark bars!’ Now that’s branding.

I’m the bar at the new Bombay Sapphire distillery in Laverstoke in Hampshire. Created from the old brick buildings of Laverstoke Mill, originally a corn mill marked in the Domesday Book of 1086, some of the present buildings are up to 300 years old and Grade II listed.

Conversion from their last incarnation as a paper mill and into a modern distillery has been carried out with remarkable respect and a great deal of design flair. It’s so eco-friendly and sustainable the distillery has been awarded the highly prestigious BREEAM Award for Industrial Design in 2014.

Outside twin space age glasshouses designed by the man behind the Olympic cauldron and Routemaster bus showcase growing examples of the exotic botanicals. In a building to the side visitors can sniff and explore the dried versions and learn more about how Bombay Sapphire is made through interactive displays before moving on to see the stills themselves

These potbellied, shiny copper wonders are where the magic takes place, the spirit turned to steam and passing through copper baskets filled with ten different botanicals before being condensed to become gin.

The Vapour Infusion distillation process is special to Bombay Sapphire, one of the secrets of its success. Most if not all gins makers boil the botanicals in the spirit.

The used botanicals, the stills run 24/7 which equals a lot of waste; all go to the smart Biomass boilers. Lemon peel, coriander, grains of paradise, orris root and all the rest, once used up all help to generate heat and hot water. Waste is almost non-existent here; almost everything gets to be reused or recycled. Much power is generated by photovoltaic cells and there is even a 6kW hydro-electric turbine located in the River Test that runs through the site.

Back at the bar, Sam makes cocktails, lots of cocktails. I have a go and immediately jam my shaker together and have to have it jemmied apart. Tom Cruise never had that kind of problem.

You can visit the distillery and take the tours (and get a drink at the end!) and it really is well worth it.

The blue may have been a gimmick but Bombay Sapphire gin and the people who make it are the genuine article.

And now, the cocktails! Right after this video.


Bombay Sapphire Ultimate Gin & Tonic Festive Twist

You will need

50ml Bombay Sapphire

50ml Clementine Juice or Orange Juice

50ml Fever-Tree Tonic Water

2 Heaped Teaspoons of Cranberry Jelly


Large’Balloon’ Wine Glass or Burgundy Glass


Two Freshly Cut Lime Wedges

A Few Clementine Segments


Mix the Bombay Sapphire, cranberry jelly and clementine juice together in a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake hard. Strain over cubed ice into a balloon glass, lightly squeeze a lime wedge and drop in. Next, using a twisted bar spoon, pour the tonic water whist stirring. Garnish with clementine segments and a lime wedge.

Bombay Sapphire Dashing Santa

You will need

25ml Bombay Sapphire

25ml Mandarin Juice

1 Dash Martini Bitters or Campari

Small Dash Orange Flower Water or Rose Water

Martini Prosecco or Champagne to finish


Champagne Flute


Mandarin leaves

An Orange Blossom Flower


Shake the first four ingredients in a cocktail shaker with cubed ice.

Fine strain into a chilled Champagne flute then top up with Martini Prosecco or Champagne. Fix the orange flower together with a cocktail pick and use to garnish the cocktail alongside mandarin leaves.

Bombay Sapphire Christmas Cup

You will need

50ml Bombay Sapphire

25ml Freshly Squeezed Pink Grapefruit Juice

15ml Bottlegreen Spiced Berry Cordial

100ml Fever-Tree Ginger Beer


Tall Highball Glass


Pink Grapefruit Wedge

A Large Mint Sprig

Clear Straw


Shake the first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker with cubed ice.

Add the Fever-Tree Ginger Beer. Strain into an ice filled tall highball glass and garnish with the mint, grapefruit wedge and mint sprig.

Bombay Sapphire Hampshire Gold

You will need

100ml Bombay Sapphire

400ml English Medium/ Dry Cloudy Cider

½ Lemon

1 Cinnamon Stick

A Pinch of Freshly Grated Nutmeg

A Couple of Pinches of All Spice

A Spoon of Honey


Heat Proof Tea Cups


A Mince Pie


Add the ingredients to a sauce pan and heat to just below a constant boil for around 10 minutes. Add more honey to taste. Transfer the cocktail into tea cups and serve with a good quality mince pie.

The Laverstoke

You will need

50ml Bombay Sapphire

15ml Martini Bianco

10ml Bottlegreen Elderflower Cordial

100ml Fever-Tree Ginger Ale


Large’Balloon’ Wine Glass or Burgundy Glass


Lime Wedge

A Few Thin Slices of Fresh Ginger

Large Mint Sprig


Pour the Bombay Sapphire, Martini Bianco, elderflower cordial and a gently squeezed lime wedge into the glass and swirl to mix.

Add plenty of good quality cubed ice and stir to chill.

Using a bar spoon, pour the ginger ale over the ice and stir to mix.

Garnish the cocktail with a second gently squeezed lime wedge, a few thin slivers of fresh ginger and a large mint sprig.

Bombay Sapphire The Winter Phire

You will need (for 10 drinks)

400ml Bombay Sapphire

400ml Martini Rosso Vermouth

25ml Angostura Bitters

75g Caster Sugar

20 Fresh Cherries

The Peel of 2 Clementine’s

1 Medium Sized Cinnamon Stick

2 Star Anise

3 Cloves


Heat Proof Tumbler Glass or Coupettes


A Cinnamon Stick

A Star Anise

A Clove Studded into a Clementine Peel


Add the sugar to a 1 litre’Kilner Jar’ followed by the peels and spices.

Stir for a few minutes. Pour the rest of the ingredients into the jarand stir well. Close the lid and place in the fridge for at least one week,gently turning over once per day.

Take the jar out of the fridge two hours before required, and place in a pan of simmering water.

After roughly20 minutes or when the liquid is 65-70°, carefully lift the jar out and stir.

Ladle the liquid into the heatproof tumbler containing the garnish,

making sure to add a couple of the cherries to each glass.