Joe Schofield from the American Bar and Beaufort Bar at The Savoy is the last of the nine semi-finalists going through to the Bombay Sapphire World’s Most Imaginative Bartender UK finals on Monday. Nine not ten we hear you cry? That’s right. There were supposed to be ten but one broke his arm (get well soon Jack). But back to Joe who impressed the judges with his reimagined gin and tonic, the Rain Reviver.
What was it about the brief that appealed to you?
I saw the brief as an opportunity. Without as many rules and regulations as other competitions I was inspired to create a much more conceptual drink, something which I have wanted to do for a while.
When and where did you experience your first gin and tonic?
A gin and tonic was the first stiff drink I ever had. I remember taking a sip of my mum’s whilst on summer holiday in France and it’s been one of my go-to choices ever since. Whether it’s on holiday with family or in a great bar with my friends.
What’s your definition of the classic gin and tonic?
A gin and tonic should be invigorating, it should always be refreshing and enjoyed with lots of ice.
And how do you describe your reimagined recipe?
The Rain Reviver is made from a Pavement Gin and Rain Tonic. The Pavement Gin is a mix of Bombay Sapphire, white rock, minerals, acids and a touch of salt. My Rain Tonic includes some traditional flavours associated with certain classic drinks born in the hotel, such as subtle citrus notes from lemon and orange (hence the name), as well as some more contemporary and interesting ingredients.
What was the inspiration behind your drink?
For me a gin and tonic is a drink to sip in the sun. I wanted to create a drink that contradicts the usual connotations of a gin and tonic, yet staying true to what the drink should be. My inspiration came from when I looked at the rain pouring over the white and grey stone buildings, pavements and streets close to The Savoy, and then I realised that was what I wanted to encapsulate in my drink.
Who would you like to see drinking it?
I’d like to see anybody enjoying my drink, ideally sat in The Savoy looking out of the window towards the Thames while it pours down with rain.
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?
I think that the visual appeal of every drink is very important, but it was after finalising my recipe I started to look at options for the aerial photo. It was here that I realised the possibility of using an edible cloud as a garnish would help stimulate curiosity and adding another dimension to the drink.
State which order the inspiration for your cocktail came to you: (a) name of cocktail; (b) image of your cocktail; (c) recipe.
The recipe came first, then the image and then the name.
What’s the one ingredient that makes your Bombay Sapphire gin and tonic unique?
My garnish; a floating edible cloud with the scent of rain.
The theme of the competition is Find Sublime, what does this expression mean to you?
For me the word sublime has implications of simplicity, beauty and a sense of the unique. It is about trying to find elements of these concepts within a drink and bringing them to life.
Complete the following: Bombay Sapphire is…
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