If you’ve spent much time around certain azure-hued flagons of gin (and I know you have) you’d have spotted 10 curious botanical ingredients etched into the side of Bombay Sapphire’s iconic bottles. From as far flung places as Tuscany, Saxony and West Africa the tipple includes familiar tastes like lemon peel, coriander seed, liquorice and almonds as well as more intriguing elements like grains of paradise, cubeb berries, cassia bark, orris root, angelica and juniper berries.
Bombay’s forthcoming Project Botanicals puts all of these ingredients on a pedestal. It’s essentially an immersive pop-up bar where ten cocktails by Sean Forsyth – each highlighting a different ingredient – are paired with ten bites thoughtfully crafted by The Boathouse chef and Masterchef judge Gary Mehigan.
“We’re in a pretty lucky place at the moment at the Bombay Spirits Company,” explains Sean, “we’ve just launched our brand new visitor facility and distillery called Laverstoke Mill in New Hampshire, about an hour southwest of London just on the River Test. It’s a beautiful space that dates back to 1761. It’s an old historic paper mill that also used to produce currency for the British Raj and of course the Bombay Spirits Company, the name and inspirations, is paying homage to the first truly global gin cocktail – the gin and tonic – which was created during the Victorian era of the British Raj.”
In keeping with the heritage and nature-focus of the new distillery’s design, lighting, copper and lush greenery to complement the gin label’s signature sapphire blue with transform the Project Botanicals pop-up bar space. I hear even the music from guest DJs may be an evolving ode to the botanicals origins.
Sean says the project is a “dream vision to do something very unique and very different with pairing food and drink. It’s based on ‘ginstronomy’ where you look to partner gin and all of its wonderful flavours with the diverse flavours in beautifully crafted food.”
Visit Project Botanicals at 64 Sutton Street, North Melbourne from 19 November to 6 December only. Book tickets here.