How to Take the Bombay Sapphire Distillery Tour

How to Take the Bombay Sapphire Distillery Tour
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A Gin & Tonic is so much more than a Gin & Tonic when you visit the Bombay Sapphire Distillery in Laverstoke, UK. It’s an architectural discovery and sensorial experience, thanks to Master Distiller Anne Brock and architect Thomas Heatherwick.

Bombay Sapphire Distillery

I had visited the Bombay Sapphire Distiller a few years before I began writing this blog. In fact, I think it was the first distillery I had visited. Needless to say, it blew me away. How could it not?

I was thrilled to revisit again to see the latest works they had just completed: a cinema, The Turbine Bar, and the personalized cocktail experience, not to mention the new cocktail menu and Bombay expressions to sample.

The combination of the historic buildings of the old paper mill and Heatherwick’s funky glass greenhouses, set in the rural Hampshire countryside, is utterly breathtaking. I was lucky enough to have my own private Bombay Sapphire Distillery tour with Sam Carter, the Bombay Sapphire Brand Ambassador, but anyone can book in. It’s just a short train ride from London Waterloo to Laverstoke, near Basingstoke where the distillery lies.

Sam Carter giving me a tour of Bombay Sapphire

The Discovery Tour

Of course, you are welcomed into the Bombay discovery experience with a complimentary cocktail! You wouldn’t be wrong if you guessed it was the Gin and Tonic, but which one? As you enter the new Turbine Bar, you can choose between several different Bombay gins.

You grab a balloon glass, fill it with ice, and then use the cool dispenser system to add your gin and then you finish by selecting a garnish. You can choose between Bombay original London Dry Gin, Bombay Sunset or Bombay Bramble, with their own set of suggested garnishes.

Cocktail in hand, you head into the cinema room. They have produced a short documentary on the heritage of Bombay Sapphire, including an overview on the ten natural botanicals that are sustainably sourced by Master of Botanicals, Ivano Tonutti.

Then the pièce de résistance…the screen goes up and the doors open to reveal the crystal palace that is the iconic glasshouse designed by the Heatherwick Studio and design team. It is really breathtaking.

Now time to explore the Bombay Sapphire Distillery with your own knowledgable distillery host to learn how a neutral spirit turns into a drop of Bombay Sapphire Gin. You also discover how a set of derelict buildings became the first distillery to achieve an ‘Outstanding’ design-stage BREEAM* accreditation for its sustainable distillery process buildings.

The gorgeous curved glasshouses are home to examples of all the exotic botanicals that go into making Bombay Sapphire: juniper berries, orris root, cassia bark, lemon peel, liquorice, cubeb berries, grains of paradise, and more.

A few of these botanicals are used to humid and warm climates or the dry temperate mediterranean climate. This funky glass technology allows them to thrive even in British winters. You get to experience the distillation process first hand and how the precious botanicals are placed in copper baskets to create the best flavor.

The Laverstoke mill also has its own incredible history going back to 1086 when it was under the ownership of William the Conquerer through the years when the British Empire was at its height. In the 18th C, the mill produced bank notes for the Bank of England.

In 1761, Thomas Dakin began producing his world-famous gin using his own process that became known as Vapor Infusion and which is still used to this day!

After your tour, you can settle into the Mill Bar to enjoy another fabulous cocktail or try their newest, exciting innovation, Bombay Premier Cru, or another classic, Star of Bombay Gin.

Gin Cocktail Masterclasses

Bombay Sapphire Ambassador Sam Carter, a former guest on Lush Life podcast by the way, and I have known each other a long time, so it was super to have him guiding us through what it takes to make a great Bombay Negroni and many more delicious cocktails.

You too can have that experience by booking gin cocktail masterclasses as well as the tour. They are led by specially trained Gin Experts and are such fun. Shake, stir, and build your way to making amazing cocktails and grab the recipes to make them at home!

Lush Life Tip Tips

Don’t forget to look out for special editions and products that you can only find at the gift shop.

Bombay (6 of 14)


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