Day three in our series of Q&As with the one of the 10 very talented bartenders who have made it through to the semi-finals of this competition where inspiration is key. Let’s hear it for Dan Berger from Heddon Street Kitchen, part of the Gordon Ramsay Group, who goes through with his reimagined gin and tonic, Portal to Exploration.
What was it about the brief that appealed to you?
The opportunity to put your own unique twist on such a classic and iconic drink was something I couldn’t resist.
When and where did you experience your first gin and tonic?
I experienced my first G&T by accident, before I worked in bars, in my early 20’s. My friend bought me one in a bar by accident and that started my affair with gin.
What’s your definition of the classic gin and tonic?
Bitter, sweet with a citrus bite, enjoyable all year round.
And how do you describe your reimagined recipe?
You can tell straight away that it’s a gin and tonic, which was my aim, but with added flavour to really play with the taste buds and push the fine botanicals found in Bombay Sapphire.
What was the inspiration behind your drink?
The new home of Bombay was a massive part of my inspiration from back when it was a corn mill 1,000 years ago and also Henry Portal who made the Laverstoke Mill famous as a paper mill. I took both of these and mixed in a little bit of English heritage that gave me the platform to rethink this classic.
Who would you like to see drinking it?
I wanted to create a drink that is approachable by all at any time of the day and year. It’s the perfect summer drink sat out in the sun or the perfect blast of flavour to help relax after a hard day at the office.
One of the entry requirements was to submit an aerial shot/illustration of your cocktail, how much of an impact did this have on your recipe?
It didn’t have a direct influence on my cocktail – it was more the chance to express the ingredients used in the drink and to really push the garnish in a 4D perspective.
State which order the inspiration for your cocktail came to you: (a) name of cocktail; (b) image of your cocktail; (c) recipe
A, C, B.
What’s the one ingredient that makes your Bombay Sapphire gin and tonic unique?
The theme of the competition is Find Sublime, what does this expression mean to you?
To find a creative influence deep down and express yourself as much as you can in a truly imaginative way.
Complete the following: Bombay Sapphire is…
An inspirational gin made through the endeavours of passion for sublime results.
Photography: Sean Ware
To read the In the hot seat sessions with the other semi-finalists and keep up-to-date with the competition, see here.
Bombay Sapphire’s World’s Most Imaginative Bartender UK final takes place at the Mondrian hotel on 30th March. Follow the action @BSapphireGinUK #wmibUK #findsublime