Gin and tonic is the world’s favorite gin drink and a classic summer cocktail. After all, it was invented in the heat of India, for soldiers and civilians of the British Raj. (Raj is the Hindi word for reign, and is the term often used to describe the period between 1858 and 1947 before Indian independence, when the British ruled the Indian subcontinent).
India was rife with malaria, and the British troops took daily doses of quinine water (what we now call tonic water), a medicine used to treat malaria, to ward off the disease.
Someone suggested mixing it with gin to make it more palatable, and gin and tonic became the iconic drink of the British Empire.
What name could more reflect the origins of gin and tonic than Bombay Sapphire, a premium brand of gin distributed by Bacardi. Not only the name, but also the photo of Queen Victoria on the label, evoke the historic period. The “sapphire” refers to the Star of Bombay, a 182-carat star sapphire that was given to Mary Pickford by husband Douglas Fairbanks. Pickford bequeathed it to the Smithsonian Institution.
But back to the gin:
Celebrate the for Labor Day weekend in style. Serve the classic gin and tonic—G&T to its fans.
G&T: the classic summer drink. Photo courtesy Martin Miller’s Gin.
HOW GIN IS MADE
Gin is distilled from juniper berries and flavored with a complex layering of botanicals that provide flavor and aroma. Each brand has its proprietary recipe. Bombay Sapphire uses almond, angelica, cassia, coriander, cubeb, juniper berries, grains of paradise, lemon peel, licorice and orris root. (Try to isolate the flavors, the next time you enjoy a shot of gin.)
First the neutral spirit base is triple distilled, and the alcohol vapors are passed through a mesh basket containing the botanicals.
The still is also special: a Carter-Head still constructed in 1948, of which there are only a small number in the world. It provides a lighter, more floral gin rather than those distilled using a copper pot still. The water used to bring the strength of Bombay Sapphire down to 40.0% (80 proof) comes from Lake Vyrnwy, a nature reserve in Wales.