The Twilight Lounge – February 11, 2012
“Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.” – Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in Casablanca.
Ah yes, one of my favorite cocktail movies and a great way to introduce one of my favorite gins and the subject of the next installment in my occasional series of gin reviews. The Original Bombay London Dry gin!
Original Bombay is now a product of Bacardi, Ltd., and is, within the Bacardi product portfolio, second banana to Bombay Sapphire. Which, to me, is really too bad because Original Bombay is a fine gin in its own right. Using their “vapourization” distillation process, the vapor coming off as the gin is distilled is passed through a total of eight botanicals: coriander, lemon peel, angelica root, cassia bark, iris root, liquorice, juniper berries and almonds. With a recipe that dates back to 1761, this is about as original as modern gins get!
Taken straight, the juniper definitely is what jumps out on the nose, followed by a warm, sharp boozy note. Not unpleasant, but not for the faint of heart either, this is a man’s shot. That said, it does go down smooth, with the juniper coming to the fore with afternotes of lemon and nuts. It stays smooth throughout and doesn’t leave me reaching for a chaser.
Now, for the martini. I started with my “standard” recipe…and again, didn’t like it because the vermouth was too overpowering. So, again, I’ve changed my standard martini recipe to 3 oz gin, 1/8 oz (1 bar spoon) Noilly Prat dry vermouth, 1 dash Angostura bitters. Now this is what I wanted! The vermouth makes a nice compliment to the strong juniper of the gin, with the bitters helping to mellow things out a bit. What can I say? This has been my go to drink for nearly two decades, so, of course I liked it! This is the baseline martini for me, against which all others are judged.
On the gin and tonic. Again, in the name of full disclosure, this is my preferred gin and tonic. The Bombay is strong enough to stand up to the tonic and is complimented by it, rather than being lost in it. Add the lime wedge, and, well, I think you have a bit of gin and tonic heaven. Those Brits sure knew what they were doing when the added quinine water to their gin (ok, so it was to fight disease, but who cares why they did it?).
Overall, I really like the Original Bombay. It has been a staple of my liquor cabinet for decades now, and is the classic example of a London Dry gin. Simply put, you cannot go wrong with it! I rate the Original Bombay a 5 out of 5!