As well as a glass of bubbly, I am also partial to a pre dinner gin and tonic. Gin has become very fashionable in recent years, with many different types available. My first experience of Bombay Sapphire was about 10 years ago. From that very first sip I fell in love with its creamy almond texture and unique botanical blend.
Little did I know, in 2014 my favourite gin’s new home was just down the road from me. I discovered the Bombay Sapphire Distillery when Princess Cruises invited me to try their signature cocktail there. This is a shore excursion now offered to guests cruising on Sapphire Princess from Southampton in 2019.
Laverstoke Mill, Hampshire
Set in the heart of the Hampshire countryside, Laverstoke Mill consists of 3 Grade II listed buildings formerly used for milling corn and paper.
Laverstoke Mill can be traced back to the Domesday Book. It is now one of the most sustainable distilleries in the world.
These cottages were the homes of on site workers.
The Glasshouse is home to the ten botanicals that make up Bombay Sapphire’s unique blend. One side has a Mediterranean climate, while the other is a Tropical climate.
The Test is the purest chalk-stream in the UK. It runs a water turbine which generates electricity for the distillery.
Inside the Glasshouse you can see, smell and learn about each botanical.
The Dakin Still House
A tour of the Dakin Still House is a must. Evidence of it’s rich history adorns the walls and brings the romance of the ‘old days’ back to life.
The two Carter head stills used for producing Bombay Sapphire are named after Thomas and Mary Dakin, who were connected with the early recipe used for Bombay Gin.
Sample the aromas of 22 bowls containing various aromatics.
As you go around each table, punch a hole on the areas of the card which you like the smell of. At the end of your visit, you can present this at the bar where your perfect cocktail will be made for you to enjoy.
You will also find a fabulous display of the bottle and label designs throughout the ages.
Enjoying my perfect gin cocktail, The Laverstoke.
We were also treated to a special class to learn how to make the signature Princess Cruises, Sapphire Princess Cocktail. You can read about that in my post How To Make The Sapphire Princess Cocktail