Example work: Bombay Sapphire & Scandinavian Traveller Magazine
With a Twist! The new way with Bombay.
How did gin become the bartender’s eternal favourite? It’s all about the twist.
Jay Gatsby drank it long with lime and soda; Micawber takes it warm with Madeira wine and spices in Dickens’ novel David Copperfield; and it’s well documented how Bond likes his gin.
From its origins as a Dutch herbal medicine in the middle ages, to the rise in popularity during the British Raj, to a modern day staple in bars the world over – just what is it that makes gin the eternal favourite? Perhaps it’s something to do with the drink’s endless ability to be given a special, personal twist.
“Gin is great to create twists with because it matches with just about any flavour,” agrees Maria Meyer, mixologist at Clarion Hotel, The Edge. “And Bombay Sapphire is just so easy to work with. It feels like there are no limits!”
Originally, gin and soda was used to mask the bitter taste of quinine, a naturally occurring medicine taken to treat malaria, during the time of the British rule in India. The Bombay Sapphire bottle still carries the images of Queen Victoria and the Star of Bombay sapphire in homage to the rise in popularity of the drink at that time. But while malaria treatments thankfully advanced and the British Empire dissolved, the taste for the tangy, bitter gin and tonic prevailed. Today gin is more popular than ever, with a recent WSTA Spirit Report stating that global sales have risen a staggering 46% since 2010. New flavour combinations and ways to consume gin are appearing in ever more experimental forms – from gin-infused cheese, to marmalade, tea and even lip balm. In addition, special gin festivals, gin-themed happy hours and gin-tasting events are on the rise. But if you really want to enjoy gin at its level best, make a beeline to one of the three best gin joints in the Nordics and taste their ultimate Sapphire Gin and Tonic Twists.
After searching the Nordics for the most creative bartenders and imaginative twists on the classic G&T, Bombay Sapphire found the three finest in Jonas Ericsson’s Bombay Special at the Grand Hotel in Helsingborg, Sweden; Maria Meyer’s Impossible Sapphire and Tonic at Clarion Hotel The Edge in Tromsø, Norway; and Juuso Viira’s Summer Twist and Love at Moro Sky Bar in Tampere, Finland. “Each of the twists had a special combination of excellent flavours, elegance and local relevance,” says Richard Man, Bombay Sapphire Ambassador Nordics. Bombay Sapphire’s world-famous gin is distilled through ten ingredients at the Laverstoke Mill in Hampshire, England – almond, lemon peel, liquorice, juniper berries, orris root, angelica, coriander, cassia, cubeb and grains of paradise – through a process of vapour infusion Bombay Sapphire gets it unique, light and floral taste”. “Juniper is the only flavour that must be included in the gin-making process in order to legally qualify as gin,” Richard Man continues, “So we were looking for excellent, culturally relevant twists that also celebrated the different notes and subtle flavours that are characteristic of Bombay Sapphire.”
Grand Hotel, Helsingborg, Sweden
Mixologist Jonas Ericsson created the botanical Bombay Special with a muddle of forest berries, sweet elderflower tonic and a zingy lime zest. “It’s fruity and floral, but with coriander and juniper from the gin sneaking up with every taste!” says Jonas Ericsson. “We have so much fun making gin drinks and playing with the flavours at the bar. We’re always creating new combinations for our Friday night ‘Gin O’Clock’ event… but we knew we had a winner when we tasted this one.”
How to make it:
5 cl Bombay Sapphire
5-6 Fresh blueberries and blackberries
12 cl Fever Tree Elderflower
Lime zest to garnish Clarion Hotel
The Edge, Tromsø, Norway
Mixologist Maria Meyer created the fresh Impossible Sapphire and Tonic, a sweet yet herbal drink that balances the botanical ingredients of Bombay Sapphire beautifully. “It’s a light, fruity gin and tonic that’s a treat for the senses,” says Maria Meyer. “We were inspired by the new orange blossom and lavender flavour tonic, and balanced it with the fresh raspberries. You really feel the raspberries but they don’t take over.”
How to make it:
4 cl Bombay Sapphire
Juice of 3 fresh raspberries
Schweppes Orange Blossom & Lavender tonic
Garnish with raspberries and orange zest
Moro Sky Bar, Tampere, Finland
Mixologist Juuso Viira created the modern classic Summer Twist and Love – a zesty and fresh take on the G&T, with a splash of St. Germain – an elderflower liqueur that adds a deliciously sweet and floral note to complement the crispness of the drink. “I like the elderflower and wanted to make the drink based on that. It has a very fresh taste, it has summer in its flavour!”says Mikko Kankaanpää, General Manager, Sokos Hotels Villa & Torni Tampere
How to make it:
3 cl Bombay Sapphire
2 cl St. Germain
0.5 cl Lemon Juice
Top with Fever Tree Indian Tonic Garnish with Lemon, Mint & Cucumber
Thinking of trying your hand at mixing a new G&T with a twist? Whatever combination of flavours takes your fancy, Bombay Sapphire is the classic botanical gin that is the one ingredient you can’t be without. “Everything we try with Bombay Sapphire has worked. It’s so great for experimenting with,” explains Maria Meyer. Mikko Kankaanpää agrees: “One should always be candid and try new twists. It’s possible to find the best flavours for everyone’s own taste.”
The Grand Hotel’s Jonas Ericsson suggests starting with a quality tonic and then consider the garnish – fresh berries are his favourite, but testing a mix of flowers, herbs and citrus fruits can help you find your twist. And if you want to serve your drink like a pro? “Instead of adding ice, we chill our glasses to -33ºC,” Ericsson reveals, “This way the flavours of the drink are revealed as the glass warms – rather than diluted as the ice melts.” Meanwhile, Meyer suggests to take inspiration from food: “If you want to try some twists yourself, think like you’re cooking a really good dessert – some people like apple and cinnamon, others like strawberry and vanilla – this way you can get just the right flavour combination.”
You can find the signature Bombay Sapphire Gin and Tonic Twist cocktails, among hundreds of other wonderful flavour combinations at Grand Hotel Helsingborg, Sweden; Clarion Hotel The Edge Tromsø, Norway; and Moro Sky Bar Tampere, Finland.