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DRINKUP ON TOUR: Bombay Sapphire Distillery

Only a short trip from London by train, the Bombay Sapphire Distillery at Laverstoke Mill makes a great day trip for any gin lover. The Drink Up team went on an adventure to the countryside to find out what all the fuss was about…

The once former paper mill, that… fun fact, used to help make bank notes for The Bank of England is nothing short of breath-taking. As you step off the Bombay shuttle bus and walk down to the entrance, a sense of calm washes over you, instantly easing you out of the hustle and bustle of London. After stumbling across the site accidentally, the Bombay Sapphire Branding Director fell in love with this spot and decided to move the distillery across the country from it’s original location in Warrington, and once you’ve been you can see why.

On the grounds sit a few beautiful 300 year old red brick buildings surrounded by the River Test, which flows some of the nations cleanest water through it, which we think might just have something to do with that famous Bombay Sapphire taste that we all know and love.

Though it took several years after moving to convert the distillery and of course perfect the gin… it has now been fully functioning and pumping out the delicious clear spirit for four years, not only to the UK but also around the globe. Being created by a small team team of only ten very talented people who know the secret to what goes into those iconic blue bottles.  

Whether self guided or on private tour, make your way through the buildings and you’ll get to understand the inner workings of one of the most technologically advanced distilleries in the world, not to mention sustainable – those Insta- famous greenhouses, designed by Thomas Heatherwick, are something to behold, kept at a gloriously muggy temperature by waste heat from production that circulates and then goes back into heating the distillery, genius. 

Move from the greenhouses into the Botanical Dry Room and get handsy - touch, sniff, see and taste the botanicals to go into creating the gin in that blue bottle all while the stills behind you work effortlessly to produce the capital’s most loved spirit. 

For the history lovers, there’s the history room… you’ll hear of great stories past, like the fact that the original Bombay Dry Gin was THE gin served at the Chicago members club, a club that inspired old mate Heff to create Playboy clubs… while they may not have had anything to do with the gin he was drinking, we’ll take the fact anyway. Oh, and there’s a whole cabinet filled with very sexy glassware from designers around the world, and if you’re anything like us - we love a sexy glass, especially when it’s filled with a gin martini. 

Unlike other distilleries, this one feels more like visiting a romantic manor house, there’s a lot to do here, so you can really make a day of it. Explore the buildings, get some lunch from the cafe, enjoy it by the river and grab a Bombay Sapphire cocktail from the funky geometric shaped blue bar, The Mill Bar. Which by the way, serves around 1200 drinks on a single Saturday, a number that rivals some of the most popular London drinking spots. We suspect that this has become a firm favourite drinking den for Laverstoke locals looking for a classy cocktail and some enviable outdoor seating.

The DrinkUp team were also lucky enough to try some of the delicious cocktails from the recently launched Artistry competition, where six bartenders from across the country have been tirelessly working on creating their own version of the classic G&T. Not just for show, these six cocktails will be available from the first week of September in bars across the country - and we will definitely be trying them all again. 

Learning all about the world’s very first premium style gin in an idyllic location is the perfect day out in our eyes, a must do for any gin lover! 

Getting to the Bombay Sapphire Distillery:
Trains run daily from London Waterloo to Overton, with the average journey taking 56 minutes.

The Bombay shuttle bus runs from Overton and Micheldever (please check their site for up to date timetables) and costs £3 for a return.

Driving from central London to the distillery takes anything from 1 hour 40 minutes.

Entry tickets to visit the distillery start from £16 for an adult and can be purchased here. They include Self-discovery experience with an interactive map, complimentary drink in the Mill Bar and 15 minute guided tour through the Still House and the average tour takes 1 hour 30 minutes.