2 MINDS, 1 BOMBAY SAPPHIRE IMAGINATION
On Thursday 18 August 2011, Bombay Sapphire, the iconic gin infused with imagination, hosted with Rebel Dining Society the second event in the Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series – an exclusive series of events in collaboration with the most pioneering creatives in the UK.
So what was it like? On entrance we are greeted by a minder who tells us he is ours and is there for our every whim. Everyone is thinking "How cute!", I am thinking, "Why couldn't I get a woman"? The room is filled with the usual suspects, tall slim barman in black and journos who look like they are too cool for school…but wait, am I not here now as a journo too?
Should I not be ignoring the "Best Gin Cocktail ever" in favour of a slim line silhouette of me and Blackberry/iPhone/iPad (insert as appropriate). I am met by a tall, rather pleased with herself waitress who offers me The Bombay Sapphire Lemon and Almond Haze. A Unique combination of natural botanicals in Bombay Sapphire and Fever-Tree's Mediterranean all natural tonic water with essential oils gathered from the Mediterranean shores, perfectly blended to create a delicate and delicious floral version of the classic.
The food looks good, watermelon salad in a Thai dressing, served in Alice in Wonderland eat me cups with ice cream spoons. I chose not to eat, as the gin is gonna be my starter, main course and dessert tonight. Then a waitress in a 1950's style dress and matching haircut comes wafting pass with miniature hamburgers in small take away boxes and my reserve slips, but only for long enough to see there is a leggy blonde lady giving me the eye.
Did I mention that my fabulous editor is stuck in traffic and I am probably the only single journo here or possibly the only single person here at all. Yes, it seems that journos are like Hyenas, they travel in packs. And as a single character in a blue pinstripe Brooks Brothers suit holding a blue tall glass cocktail, I am hard to miss. Suddenly I am no longer feeling like a Lord about town and more like the deer separated from the herd.
But I am not going to back down, strengthened by my second G&T I walk over. And the room falls silent, or maybe it's just a break in the Muzak. And no, I didn't spell that wrong, Muzak is background music played in stores, over phones on hold, etc and it is as monotonous as an elevator. I approach and realise I have nothing in my head, "You put the BOMB in Bombay Sapphire" seems like a pathetic opener, so I go with “What do you think of the drink and would you like are fresher?”
We saunter over to the bar and order a sour base, almond fudge, orange blossom syrup, created by the 'Imagination Team' the barmen tells me.
He goes to work and it's pure Alchemy, 5 shakes, one long pour and a look of pride and our drinks are ready for consumption. My lady is told its served with no straw. I see her lips purse back like a cat tasting bad milk and I want to withdraw like a curtain at the start of a play. She begins to tell me she saw me from across the room and I tell her maybe its better if she goes back across the room and keeps looking as I've got to return some films.
Only the room is tiny and 10 steps later I am across the room and now not only am I alone in a room full of non smiling hyenas but I have made a frenamy along the way.
Where is my fabulous Editor ?
I order a Bombay Sapphire Pego. A mouth-watering citrus medley of Bombay Sapphire gin, fragrant orange Curacao, fresh lime juice and the finishing touch of Angostura and orange bitters. I disappear, as this is a great Summer Drink.
When I come back the room is twice as busy and everyone seems a little less hostile and a little more happy. But still I stand alone, like "The Situation" from Jersey Shore if he was on University Challenge.
So I do what any single man at a bar has been doing since Bars were invented?
Then like sunshine through a cloud I see the end to the storm. My amazing editor and life saver Hanna White arrives.
Walking up to the entrance, I am suddenly surrounded by veils of white curtains with a blue light dancing off the draped material. I felt a huge sigh of relief that I have actually made the Bombay Sapphire event after being stuck in a never ending caterpillar of traffic. I think the taxi driver was also glad I was out of the cab after trying to convince him it would be totally fine for him to drive down the bus lane to overtake all the traffic.
At the entrance I was greeted by a rather small man (Maybe I shouldn’t have worn these killer heels), not sure if he was able to understand me so high up and all bunged up with the flu. He handed me a gold pouch with a test tube filled with a rather strange blue liquid and in my other hand a blue passport. I was beginning to feel like I was just on the verge of falling down the rabbit hole into the unknown. He explained that the experience will enhance our Bombay Sapphire imagination. Everyone looked puzzled staring at this blue substance being handed out, and I prayed that I don’t wake up in some hotel room with one kidney missing.
As I enter the venue I see Jason looking like a lost sheep at the far corner of the bar and a few female wolves were beginning to circle. As I join him, they flee and I realize that I may be a form of chick repellant? He’s holding a rather delusion looking blue beverage in a tall glass, and begins to tell me it’s the Lemon and Almond Haze gin cocktail. “I’ll have one of those” I proclaim as the barman made another of the signature cocktails, we began to observe the room which is now beginning to be fill rapidly with unknown faces. However, all eyes are fixed on the heavy gold curtains hiding an archway entrance and what lies beyond. Even with the flu I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. Armed with my BSF columnist and flu tablets what could go wrong…
10 minutes later the room began to feel like the inside of a furnace, and I could swear Jason had a pitch fork.
Beyond the gold curtain the real Bombay Sapphire experience began, along with a little sweaty feverish editor. We were lead to a hot air balloon situated across the huge room and jumped inside the blue basket with our guide, who has a C.V. which includes travelling the world with only 10 helium balloons, so we knew we were in safe hands. He instructed us to pour each of our test tubes into a glass vase, and as I duly obliged, white smoke gust out of the decanter and he instructed us to taste. Now I have always been skeptical of strange men asking me to taste certain things, but as this was for Bombay Sapphire, I was open to suggestions. As we finished the first amazing experience, the flu was beginning to take hold of me and I found myself feeling more and more feverish.
We went through the various different experiences, stamping our shiny new passports as we went along through the bizarre and wonderful world of imagination. From the Balloonist to The Phoenix Show to The Plane Journey and the Peacock, all reflecting the ingredients that create the Bombay Sapphire Gin experience. Special thanks must go to the Rebel Dining Society who helped create the marvelous events. Inspired stories of freedom and creativity which certainly captured our minds.
To find out more information on the Bombay Imagination's events visit.
For Information on the Rebel Dining Society visit