Wine and food pairing is common in gastronomy, while spirits are usually a pre or post dining event. Now deluxe gin brand Bombay Sapphire has discovered that the exotic botanicals found in their gin make it a perfect match for many dishes.
Welcome to “Ginstronomy”
Bombay Sapphire – a Gem of a Gin
Bombay Sapphire is a complex spirit made with carefully selected botanicals sourced from around the globe. These plant materials, such as grains, bark, leaves, oils, seeds and berries, provide a unique depth of flavour and aroma.
Grains of Paradise or Afromomum melegueta are harvested in the monsoon season from countries on the coast of West Africa. From the ginger family, these little seeds give a pungent, peppery taste.
From West Africa, Bombay Sapphire travels to the Sahara Desert in Marrakesh for its coriander seeds. Volcanoes in Java provide the tingling cubeb berries, while the essential juniper berries are grown in the hills of Tuscany.
Exotic botanicals sourced from all around the World are transported to Laverstoke Mill in Hampshire, UK for the unique distilling process that turns all these amazing ingredients into gin.
Unlike other gins that boil their botanicals into the alcohol, Bombay Sapphire does things a little differently to create a more broad and complex flavour. The selected botanicals are held in a perforated copper basin over the heated spirit. The vapours rise through the botanicals to release the flavours and then settle to create the liquid. They’ve named it the Vapour Infusion process, and its what adds the sparkle to the sapphire.
A Feast for the Senses
Project Botanicals is Bombay Sapphire’s exciting cocktail and cuisine adventure, designed to showcase ten botanicals. And after last year’s sold out launch, it’s back. Bombay has once again teamed up with Melbourne’s most talented and celebrated cocktail and cuisine aficionados.
Highlights from Project Botanicals 2015
A pop-up bar with a definite twist, Master Chef Gary Mehigan partners with five of Melbourne’s hottest bars for Project Botanicals 2015: Black Pearl, Eau De Vie, 1806, Union Electric and Gin Palace, to bring more fresh ideas to the table. Taking the botanicals from the gin, Gary and talented mixologists use brave combinations of tastes and textures to create nine cocktails matched to plates of visual perfection.
Without giving too much of the surprise away, Project Botanicals is like a scene from the Botanical Gardens. The popup is brimming with vibrant colour and lush plants. Displays of botanicals are artfully arranged with beautiful glasses and candles perched in between maidenhair ferns, native bluebells, moss, succulents, juniper berries and lemons.
Melbourne-ites will be treated to this special event later this month.
What’s on the menu?
I was treated to a preview of both the Project Botanicals popup and Bombay Sapphire’s new, super premium gin The Star of Bombay. Served to us on arrival with Fever Tree Tonic Water, fresh orange zest and cubed ice.
From the menu, the Angelica Negroni and Tartine of Pickled & Exotic Mushrooms was a highlight, as was the Cassia Indian Milk Punch with the Coconut Poached Chicken Laab, but choosing a favourite would be an impossible choice. The entire degustation was amazing.
Juniper Sublime G&T: Bombay Sapphire, Fresh Lime Wedge, Fever Tree Tonic Water, served with Cubed Ice
Something savoury: Blue Swimmer Crab with Pistachio Nut Dukkah, Lime and Avocado
Botanical: Juniper berries from Italy
Lemon Collins: Bombay Sapphire, Fresh Lemon Juice, 1883 Sugar Syrup, Fever Tree Soda Water, garnished with a Dehydrated Lemon Wheel & Crushed Ice
Something savoury: Crisp Tostaditas with Gin Cured King Fish, Flame Roasted Pablanos, Sour Cream & Charred Corn Salsa (GF)
Botanical: Lemon peel from Spain
Angelica Negroni: Bombay Sapphire, Campari, Cocchi Torino, Antica Formula, Cocchi Amaro, Gentiane, served with a Dehydrated Orange Wheel & Hoshizaki Ice
Something savoury: Tartine of Pickled & Exotic Mushrooms, Garlic & Parmesan Custard, Parsnip Crunch (V)
Botanical: Angelica (root) from Saxony
Almond Blossom Martini: Bombay Sapphire, Noilly Prat, Antica Formula, Crème de Noyaux, Crawley’s Orgeat Syrup, with a Fresh Orange Twist
Something savoury: Jamon Serrano, Bruschetta of Confit Red Peppers, Onions & Saffron, Smoked Mayo
Botanical: Almonds from Spain
Cassia Indian Milk Punch: Bombay Sapphire, Rice Milk infused with Autumn Tea, Lemon Peel, Anise & Cinnamon, Condensed Milk, Bitter Truth Pimento Dram, garnished with Cinnamon. By 1806
Something savoury: Coconut Poached Chicken Laab, Asian Herbs, Chilli, Lime & Roasted Rice (GF)
Botanical: Cassia Bark from Indo-China
Cubeb Berry Lola: Bombay Sapphire, Grand Marnier, Fresh Lime Juice, Coco Lopez, 1883 Ginger Syrup, served with an Edible Viola, Pineapple Leaf & poured over Cubed Ice. By Union Electric
Something savoury: Char Grilled Octopus with Cauliflower Skordalia, Candy Beetroots & Fennel (GF)
Botanical: Cubeb berries from Java
Easter Coriander Fix: Bombay Sapphire, Fresh Lime Juice, Pineapple Juice, Coriander Syrup, Fever Tree Soda Water infused with Sencha Tea, served with a Dehydrated Orange Wheel & Cubed Ice. By Eau de Vie
Something savoury: Crispy Fried Pork Belly, Chilli Caramel, Pickled Daikon Radish (GF)
Botanical: Coriander (seeds) from Morocco
Liquorice Pontefract: Bombay Sapphire, Toasted Fennel Seed Syrup, Fresh Lemon Juice, Pastis Henri Bardouin, Orange Bitters, Egg Whites, Fever Tree Soda Water, garnished with a Liquorice Allsort. By Black Pearl
Something savoury: Duck Pastilla, Duck Pastrami, Labneh, Ancient Grain & Nut
Botanical: Liquorice from China
Orris Aviation: Bombay Sapphire, Maraschino, Fresh Lemon Juice, Massenez Violet, garnished with an Edible Viola
Something sweet: “Strawberries & Cream”, Candied Violets, Lemon Cream & Warm Breton Biscuit (V)
Botanical: Orris (Iris root) from Italy
Eve’s Cheat Day in Paradise: Bombay Sapphire, Maidenii Classic Vermouth, 1882 Ginger Syrup, served warm with Chocolate Butter. By Gin Palace
Something sweet: Warm Hazelnut & Brown Butter Friand, Olorosso Ice Cream, Raisins, Black Sherry Syrup (V)
Botanical: Grains of Paradise from West Africa