bombay sapphire speakeasy
I’ve always had a thing for speakeasies. The rebellion and romance of a secret bar, accessible only by those who know the password, or the secret knock, or the location of the entrance, evokes a certain mystique. Maybe it’s the dark glamour of the 20s. So when I was invited to the Bombay Sapphire Speakeasy in a very traditional way — by one in the know, the upstanding gentleman behind 604 Foodtography — I jumped at the chance.
Held at Vancouver’s very own speakeasy, Guilt & Co., the event featured live jazz (by local group Jen Hodge’s All Stars), hors d’oeuvres, and of course, drinks. I’d visited Guilt before this, and had always been impressed with the space; I really got the Prohibition-era vibe from this basement nook under Chill Winston. With the jazz going, and some people in 20s getups, I can really see why Bombay Sapphire decided to have the event here. It’s like they were made for each other.
There were three drinks served, all takes on classic cocktails, all of which were geared towards summer entertaining. Gin then, was a fitting spirit to use, as it is used in a multitude of fruity tall drinks. The first drink served was a take on the French 75 called the French Highball (Bombay Sapphire, lemon juice, simple syrup, pear juice, champagne). The flavours were very delicate; it almost tasted like soda water with a bit of sweetened champagne taste. The subtlety of the alcohol taste made all the drinks served at the speakeasy dangerous; when drinks go down too smooth, before you know it — POW!
The other two cocktails I didn’t manage to get a shot of, but they were the Sapphire & Sin (Sapphire, lemon juice, orange juice, ginger simple syrup) and the Dorothy Parker (Sapphire, pineapple juice, grenadine, Martini and Rossi Bianco). I didn’t get a picture of either, but the Gin & Sin was definitely the highlight of the night. It was sweet, but not too sweet, and flavourful in a way that the French Highball wasn’t. The Dorothy Parker reminded me of a tropical drink, with the pineapple and grenadine, yet tasted the strongest of the trio.
Of course, there was food going around. My misfortune with the drinks was echoed by the food: I didn’t get a picture of my favourite dish, which was a delicious grilled scallop with what tasted like pea puree. That would be my guess, as it had that distinct sweet flavour that I only know from pea soup.
Merlin Griffiths and Corbin Tomaszeski both spoke quite well in their parts teaching cocktail and food preparation, respectively.
One of the best parts about this event in the end, even beyond the food and drink and atmosphere, was meeting the people behind the blogs and Twitter accounts. A bit awkward at first, but we’re all in this food blogging thing together, so no big. Of course, there was Kevin from 604 Foodtography, but I also met the crew from MePlusFood, Queenie, and of course, the famous Sherman and Mijune, who definitely need no introduction for anyone who has ever read a Vancouver food blog.
Thanks again to Kevin for the invite, it was great fun. Great food, great people, and while I don’t know if the speaking was easy, it sure wasn’t as hard as I thought.