From Soho House we have Simone de Luca, the second of the ten Bombay Sapphire World’s Most Imaginative Bartender UK semi-finalists. Simone goes through to the big gig on 30th March with his reimagined gin and tonic, Bonobo’s Sapphire. Here’s his take on the set questions…


What was it about the brief that appealed to you?

What really appealed to me was the chance to create something really imaginative and to go a bit out of the scheme!

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

I actually had my first gin and tonic here in London; in Italy it’s not really popular but here people are crazy about it!

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

Simple, crisp and pungent.

And how do you describe your reimagined recipe?

My recipe is a bit like a trip in Africa, stopping by every corner to pick up something different. My ingredients come from East, West, South and North Africa.

What was the inspiration behind your drink?

My inspiration came from music. Lately I’ve been listening a lot to Bonobo, a great ambient/lounge music producer. One of his songs is called Sapphire. As soon as I heard it I knew I could make something from it.

Who would you like to see drinking it?

Bonobo of course! During one of his DJ sets – maybe in Africa…

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?

For my recipe the look of the drink is very important, as it’s topped with a curry foam, some dried lime, toasted coconut etc… It has a really big impact on the drink.

State which order the inspiration for your cocktail came to you: (a) name of cocktail; (b) image of your cocktail; (c) recipe.

First came the name, then picturing it in my mind and then creating the recipe.

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

A grains of paradise shrub made with African Chenin Blanc and rounded off with some mango vinegar.

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

Sublime is everything – it’s the look of your drink, the inspiration, the taste but mostly the people who enjoy your drink.

Complete the following: Bombay Sapphire is…


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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