Twenty-nine members and guests enjoyed a fascinating afternoon at the Bombay Sapphire Distillery at Laverstoke Mill on 19th March. We were conducted round by Maurice who seemed to know everything that there is to know about the site and distilling gin. The site had a long history of papermaking for bank note production, having been owned for many years by the Portal family. Following acquisition by Bombay Sapphire, many of the old buildings have been restored sympathetically, and the company has added the splendid new Botanical Glasshouses designed by the Heatherwick Studios, which stand on the river bank, to show the plants from which the botanical additives for the Bombay Sapphire gin are obtained.
We were shown the stills used to make the gin, and the manufacturing process of vapour infusion was explained to us. We were also given the chance to see and sniff the various botanical additives, which include liquorice, lemon, and various herbs and spices, and to indicate our favourites. On the basis of these choices, we were each given a complimentary cocktail at the end of the tour. Those drivers who opted for a non-alcoholic cocktail were provided with a goody-bag with a miniature bottle of the gin and some tonic water to enjoy at their leisure.
Even for members for whom gin may not be a favourite tipple, it was an enjoyable and informative afternoon!