The Bombay Sapphire World’s Most Imaginative Bartender UK final takes place on 30th March. And each day in the run-up to the big event we’ll be bringing you a profile of one of the semi-finalists.

But first, just a little recap on the entry requirements: the hopefuls were asked to rethink and create a sublime gin and tonic, they also had to capture their re-imagined cocktail in an aerial image. Believe us, that’s a lot harder than it sounds – it’s a brief that calls on bartender know-how, artistry and a healthy dash of ingenuity.

Iain Griffiths from Mr Lyan cracked it with his H&V Sour. Here he answers the questions we put to all of the bartenders who have shaken up the classic gin and tonic and taken it to a whole new, exciting territory. The countdown to this year’s Bombay Sapphire World’s Most Imaginative Bartender UK finals starts here…

What was it about the brief that appealed to you?

The opportunity to really push the boundaries and not just focus on something replicable that a brand can then push en masse.

When and where did you experience your first gin and tonic?

Ha, ahhh shamefully something pretty Australian and more than likely from a can, in the sunshine in a park somewhere I’d say.

What’s your definition of a classic gin and tonic?

Classic? Refreshing, long and simple. Ice and a slice of course!

And how do you describe your reimagined recipe?

Something more intriguing than a classic, still elegant in presentation, and with that great, bitter/sweet/drying finish.

What was the inspiration behind your drink?

To draw on my own travels around the world, that in turn let me pair new botanicals and flavours with those of a classic Bombay Sapphire gin and tonic.

Who would you like to see drinking it?

My mum, on the back veranda at home as the sun is going down at her feet. She stills works crazy long hours and so I’m always telling her to relax more (ironic I know), plus she doesn’t really drink and so I’m always adamant I’ll create a drink one day that she loves despite the fact it contains alcohol.

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?

Huge, it had me thinking about what colours and in turn flavours, would play off well with each other inside the amazing Bombay Sapphire Ballon.

Which order did the inspiration for your cocktail come to you:
(a) name of cocktail; (b) image of your cocktail; (c) recipe

Recipe, image, name.

What’s the one ingredient that makes your Bombay Sapphire gin and tonic unique?

A red wine tannin solution.

The theme of the competition is Find Sublime, what does this expression mean to you?

It means telling a story – it’s one thing to have a great drink, it’s another to have a reason and experience behind what lead you to create something you believe is sublime.

Complete the following, Bombay Sapphire is…

…a world class gin with a pioneering facility drawing much needed focus onto the sustainable nature of distilling.

Photography: Sean Ware

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

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