Bombay Sapphire Summer Cocktails & Recipes
Welcoming Summer with Bombay Sapphire Cocktails & Recipes
It was an exclusive launch for Bombay Sapphire Speakeasy and near the end of the night no one was speaking quite easily. I was invited to this “hush hush” 1920’s inspired event (hence my costume) hosted by award winning UK mixologist, Merlin Griffiths, and Food Network’s Restaurant Makeovers, Crash My Kitchen and newest show Dinner Party Wars, celebrity chef Corbin Tomaszeski. With one making drinks and the other pairing them with appetizers it was an entertaining night with free flowing cocktails and progressive slurring.
“Speakeasy” refers to the illegal place(s) selling alcohol during the Roaring Twenties, or prohibition era (1920’s-30’s+), when there were rules and regulations around the sales and consumption of alcohol. These speakeasies or secret clubs, sometimes requiring secret passwords, served premium alcohol to a high class and sophisticated clientele.
Therefore the event was hosted at Guilt & Co., a cocktail and beer forward hidden restaurant in historic Gastown in downtown Vancouver. It’s basically located in the basement of parent restaurant Chill Winston. It’s a restaurant, sultry lounge and bar with a 1920’s jazzy underground feel. Although I didn’t try their regular menu on this evening, my curiosity was left sparked!
It’s a neighbourhood gem featuring live music, dancing and various artists showcasing their unique talents. They also offer a selection of boardgames as nightly entertainment and the concept is really quite fresh to the Vancouver scene. The only other speakeasies I know of are Speakeasy on Davie Street and Narrow Artist Lounge, which is somewhat similar as well.
World renowned mixologist Merlin Griffiths prepared three Bombay Sapphire inspired drinks and each of them welcomed summer perfectly! Inspired by prohibiiton-era cocktails, these classic recipes are recreated with modern style and unique twists. The hors d’oeuvres paired with these cocktails were prepared by Chef Corbin and also inspired by 1920’s ingredients and styles of cooking, which was simple and inexpensive.
So “speakeasy” on this tip, but if you’re entertaining for the summer, invest in the gin (which isn’t even that pricey) and then save on the food. After these drinks, nobody will remember much of the food or anything anyways 😉
Photos are courtesy of Sherman. I have no idea how he managed to take non-blurry photos… I guess he was in good state.
The SAPPHIRE® & SIN is a twist on the classic Gin Fix – a traditional cocktail that was developed during the prohibition era – re-imagined by replacing grenadine with ginger syrup to enhance the Grains of Paradise flavour infused in BOMBAY SAPPHIRE®.
This was my favourite drink of the night. It was the lightest and probably the least sweet and strong, partially due to the fact that Sapphire gin is more subtle than most gins. It was crisp, refreshing, citrusy and had a warm ginger sweetness in the background with a clean aftertaste. This was almost like lemonade and it was a bit too easy to drink.
(Makes 2 Cocktails)
1.5oz BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin
1 oz Freshly squeezed lemon juice
0.5 oz Fresh orange juice
0.5 oz Fresh ginger syrup (1 cup of powdered white sugar, ¾ cup of boiling water, 5 thick slices peeled ginger root. Add all to a saucepan over a medium heat for 10 minutes, leave to cool for 30 minutes and strain into clean bottle and refrigerate)
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice, shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or on the rocks in a tumbler. Garnish with ginger slices and coriander/cilantro leaves.
The Sapphire & Sin was paired with “Prohibition Turkey Bites” with an Asian twist. They were lightly battered and deep fried Panko crusted ground turkey meatballs with garlic, ginger, cilantro, soy and sesame oil. It was served with a sweet and sticky honey lemon dipping sauce with a splash of Bombay Sapphire mixed in.
SAPPHIRE® FRENCH HIGHBALL
A variation on the French 75 Cocktail that was standardized during the prohibition era, the SAPPHIRE® FRENCH HIGHBALL reflects the passion for cocktails that was taken up internationally and by Americans during the times of temperance. The classic French 75 has been re-imagined with the addition of pear nectar to add a rich, fresh flavor that helps to combat the acidity of the lemon and champagne.
This was an adult version of a sparking lemonade, but it was also stronger and bolder in flavours than the Sapphire & Sin. It was bright, cool and refreshing, but just a little more rich and sweet with the pear nectar. The bitterness and tang of the lemon and strength of the Bombay Sapphire was showcased much stronger in this drink than the previous.
SAPPHIRE® FRENCH HIGHBALL
(Makes 3 Cocktails)
1 oz BOMBAY SAPPHIRE®
0.5 oz Lemon juice
0.5 oz Simple syrup (2 parts sugar & 1 part boiling water; stir until dissolved and chill)
1 oz Pear nectar/juice
Top with Champagne or Sparkling Wine
Add the first 4 ingredients to a highball glass and stir. Fill the glass with cracked ice (lightly smash some ice cubes). Top slowly with champagne and stir once more. Garnish with a long “shoestring” lemon twist and edible gold flakes for pizzazz.
The Sapphire French Highball was paired with “Speakeasy Baked Clams”. These little neck clams were baked with a crushed almond, garlic, onion, Panko crumb, crab meat, and Parmesan herb topping. It was nutty and crumbly and it was a bit overwhelming for the tiny clam, but I liked the topping alone. Of course there was a bit of Bombay Sapphire to moisten up the topping before baking.
THE DOROTHY PARKER
The DOROTHY PARKER is an updated twist on the Mary Pickford, a white rum cocktail that was invented in Cuba and made popular by wealthy traveling Americans during the 1920s. Re-imagined using BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin instead of rum and Martini & Rossi® Bianco instead of maraschino cherry juice, this recipe helps enhance the earthier elements of the gin such as orris root and angelica.
This was definitely the sweetest and “girliest” cocktail of the night. It was partly the most dangerous because of how sweet it was. It was almost like candy and it reminded me a little bit of a citrusy Shirley Temple. There was a strong herb like bitterness to it that came after the sweetness and although I don’t mind sweet drinks, I’m not huge on artificial cherry flavours. Although not as sophisticated, these would make for great popsicles or jello shooters for the summer too.
THE DOROTHY PARKER
(Makes 2 Cocktails)
1.5 oz BOMBAY SAPPHIRE®
1oz Fresh pineapple juice
1 tsp. Grenadine
2 tsp. Martini & Rossi® Bianco (Substitute: Martini Extra Dry and a teaspoon of sugar)
Add all ingredients to a shaker with plenty of ice, shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a pineapple leaf and lime twist.
The Blind Tiger was paired with “Blind Tiger Potato rounds with Pea Puree and Shaved Fennel”. It was baked potato rounds topped with a creamy sweet pea puree and fresh fennel marinated in a little Bombay Sapphire, fresh thyme and black pepper. This was very simple and easy to prepare and the licorice flavour was a great contrast to the sweet drink, yet it also enhanced the gin flavour in it.
**Reminder to please drink responsibly.