Gin is my favourite drink – so much so that I arranged an entire weekend break purely to visit the Bombay Sapphire distillery in Hampshire. We went on the Gin Workshop and here’s what I found out:
1. We began by learning all about how to make the perfect gin and tonic with a lovely barman wearing braces and a bow-tie. The barman did an experiment where we all closed our eyes, pinched our noses and he gave us something to eat. When our eyes were closed and noses pinched, I couldn’t taste a thing. I had no idea what it was (nerve-wracking), but when we stopped, the scent and taste of mint just surged across my tastebuds! This experiment was to demonstrate how powerful your sense of smell is when it comes to tasting things, which is why you need a large bowl glass to drink gins and good wines, so you can really get your shnoz in there and smell the aromas.
Traditionally a gin and tonic is drunk with lime, but you can garnish with any citrus fruit you want. I chose grapefruit and it was really tasty, especially with the elderflower tonic I tried. We drank our drinks at around 12:30pm – apparently prime time for gin drinking.
2. You then get to tour the distillery on your own, which is a really lovely experience. They have these beautiful glass botanical houses where the ten botanical elements of gin are grown. There’s also a dry room where you can smell the different ways of using the botanics, and find out how to create different flavours. It was really interesting – like a school trip but with more booze!
3. We then went to the bar and were treated to our choice of cocktail made by another lovely barman in the Mill Bar. I went for a French 75 – the strongest of all the cocktails made with gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup, prosecco. It was really dreamy!