Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The 'EPICUREAN TOUR of CHINATOWN' and Bombay Sapphire East by Philip S. Kampe

‘BOMBAY SAPPHIRE EAST’ and the ‘Epicurean Tour of Chinatown

It was a very warm, muggy day in Chinatown when I met-up with a group of fellow curious spirit drinkers, mixologists and restaurant operators. The meeting took place because of the off beat advertisement that the Manhattan Cocktail Classic was hosting an ‘Epicurian Tour of Chinatown with Bombay Sapphire East (Gin)’.

The title aroused enough interest that our group ‘Sold Out’ the event.

I felt lucky to be part of the small group that were under the guidance of Gary Hayward, Bombay Sapphire East’s Brand Ambassador’.

We met at Dim Sum GoGo, 5 East Broadway, located in Chinatown, Manhattan. The restaurant may be the most important Dim Sum restaurant in Chinatown and North America.

The goal of the Brand Ambassador was to show how well Bombay Sapphire East cocktails pair with all types of Chinese food creations.

To cap Gary Haywards’ presentation, a film crew from the ‘Foods of New York Tours’ was filming the complete ‘Epicurean Tour of Chinatown’ along with his mixing tips and our comments.

Gary mesmerized the room with his presentation. Maybe it was his cockney accent paired with Bombay Sapphires ’12 Exotic Botanicals’ found in the new Asian inspired Bombay Sapphire East that put the worshipers in a trance. Whatever it was, the evening was his.

Like magic, Gary brewed an exotic tea and poured it over a half shot of Bombay Sapphire East that was in our tea cups. The combination, somehow by magic was chilled. The result was an amazing drink that paired perfectly with the duck, shrimp, vegetable and chive Dim Sum that were served to each of us. Add a ginger topping and special sauce and you felt like this combination was a ‘Match Made In Heaven’.

And this was just the beginning!

We staggered out of the restaurant and listened to our guide explain Chinatown’s history before we made a bee-line to our next stop, ABC Cantonese (34 Pell Street).
After drinking a large glass of water (it is 85 degrees outside), we listened to Gary explain the cocktail he made with Bombay Sapphire East to complement the rice dish that was served to us. The cocktail was thirst quenching (I had two) and was exactly what the Cantonese dish called for.

The cameras stopped and we all lined up to thank Gary for his imaginative cocktail interpretation.

As we left, Gary announced that at the next restaurant, Peking Duck (28 Mott Street), we would make our own cocktail, the classic Gin & Tonic.

I was excited to become a mixologist at a restaurant that I have eaten at on several occasions. Peking Duck is what I believe to be the best BYOB restaurant in Manhattan.

As we entered the ‘duck palace’, we were escorted to a private room in the basement. Our tables were set-up with two ‘Full’ bottles of Bombay Sapphire East and all of the ingredients necessary to make a Gin & Tonic of our choice.

As the cameras rolled, Gary made his legendary Gin & Tonic mixture, which we imitated at our table. The result was clearly the ‘Best Gin & Tonic’ I have ever had. Maybe it was the Bombay Sapphire East gin that created the benchmark drink. Peking Duck was passed around on large platters to all of the guests.

We seem to have ‘clicked’ as a group, enjoying each others company to the max.

The bottles of gin were flowing and my true appreciation of Bombay Sapphire East was now etched into my heart. I have turned into a fan and a follower—all within three hours into this ‘Epicurean Tour of Chinatown with Bombay Sapphire East’.

The last stop was Apotheke (9 Doyers Street), a bar that reminded me of an opium den from the 1800’s.

This was it, one more cocktail that was created by Brand Ambassador Gary Hayward and executed by the bartenders in this amazing bar.

What an afternoon to remember, an experience of a lifetime, thanks to my new and favorite friend, ‘Bombay Sapphire East’.

Philip S. Kampe
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