About 30 years before the launch of Bombay Sapphire, Alan Subin and Burton Brown, two old friends, decided to work on a gin together. They had these talks in the Gaslight Club in New York, which was co-owned by Brown. The Gaslight Club was a speakeasy, members-only concept that originated in Chicago, with Prohibition lifted not long before. The two gentlemen travelled to the United Kingdom and found a recipe that dated back to 1761 and contained 8 botanicals: Juniper, Lemon peel, Coriander seeds, Orris, Angelica, Almonds, Liquorice and Cassia Bark. The recipe called for a ‘vapour distillation’ which means that the botanicals are not boiled or steeped with the grain alcohol, but placed above it, so the fumes pick up the flavours.
Bombay Original has a lovely nose, with juniper, coriander and liquorice dominating. The taste is full-bodied with slightly bitter juniper and coriander with angelica at first and more sweet notes from cinnamon and liquorice coming through after that.
I seems a great gin for mixing with tonic water, accessible for everyone, even people who think not to like gin. How does this gin work with my 3 selected Tonic Waters?
Schweppes: This tonic water is high in carbonation and quite sweet, giving it a somewhat perfumed taste. It adds a lot of sweetness to Bombay Original and really needs some lime to get back to that freshness. I have the feeling that the tonic is overpowering the gin a bit, although there’s still plenty of room for Bombay Original to shine.
Fever Tree: There is so much more space for Bombay Original in this mix. The lime really finishes the drink, although they taste already great together without a garnish. The carbonation in Fever Tree works great in both the glass and in your mouth and the relatively low levels of acidity in the tonic are compensated beautifully by Bombay Original.
Fentiman’s: This is the most eccentric tonic water of the bunch and already from the smell on you notice how different it is. It is strong in citric notes and bitterness from the quinine and are maybe a bit too strong for the Bombay Original, although all flavours taste very natural together.
Conclusion: With just the addition of a basic garnish like fresh lime it clear that the best Tonic Water with this Bombay Original Dry Gin is Fever Tree. It leaves room in exactly those places where the gin is strong and compensates the areas in which Bombay Original has less flavour. The complement each other in a beautiful way and although they are not the most adventurous combination, it is highly recommended.