We were lucky enough to attend the launch of Bombay Sapphire’s CANVAS pop-up event in Shoreditch, which will be running from 18th – 21st July. Here’s what was what!
Bombay Sapphire have positioned CANVAS as destination designed to inspire creative self-expression through the mediums of art and gin (something we can certainly get on board with). 15 international artists (both emerging and established) will set about enlivening the space from a blank canvas into a living work of art over the four-day event, starting with well-known graphic designer Supermundane’s transformation of the building’s façade.
As we enter the space, we are immediately greeted by two smiling folk who hand us Bombay Sapphire-stamped goblets of gin and direct us towards the Tonic Wall with its five taps issuing differently flavoured tonics. We go for the Spicy Finish (cayenne, cinnamon, ginger) and the Sonic (quinine, lemongrass, jasmine, ginger, fennel), finishing each drink with their respective garnishes of freshly cracked pepper and lime. Happy with our instant interaction, we take a moment to survey the space.
Artists are busy at work, painting the walls of the ground floor with art inspired by Bombay Sapphire. We’re instantly drawn to Alex May Hughes who is sign-painting by the Tonic Wall with meticulous attention to detail and stead glass-gilding hand. Inspired by what she witnessed at the Laverstoke distillery, Alex has incorporated various Bombay Sapphire botanicals into her piece including liquorice leaves, almond flowers and lemon blossom.
After a fair bit of slack-jawed ogling, we make our way to the bar where we find a cocktail menu curated by some of the world’s leading bartenders, including a Sated favourite, Marcis Dzelzainis (Sager + Wilde, London). We decide to start proceedings off with The Dante Martini (Bombay Sapphire, Noilly Prat, Kummel, Toasted Fennel, Salt, Champagne Vinegar) by Naren Young (Dante, NYC) and Juan Vall’s (El Niño Perdido and Sinners Club, Valladolid) High Tide (Bombay Sapphire, Pine Tree Sap, Lemon Verbena, Fino Sherry, Verjus). The martini is deliciously dirty, the fennel and champagne vinegar matching well with the chornichon garnish, whilst High Tide is fresh, fragrant and slightly sweet.
We continue following our route around, finding ourselves in a corner with edible paints and glitter where visitors are encouraged to get a CANVAS cocktail from the bar and return ready to decorate the egg white foam top, before adding a “Stir Creativity” branded peel garnish. A fun and engaging idea no doubt but we’d recommend that you avoid drinking the actual cocktail unless you want a bit of pure sugar.
We chat to a couple of the friendly artists at work, including the delightful Connie Harrison who says that it’s certainly different than working in a studio on your own but that she welcomes people coming to talk to her, before heading down the stairs to the trippy, immersive light and soundscape installation by Rupert Newman. Rupert has taken his inspiration from the idea of refracting through the ‘Star of Bombay’ – the jewel that inspired Bombay Sapphire’s renown logo – and the results are spectacular!
We spend a good deal of the evening coming back down to this Instagrammers’ wet dream of a room (between drink orders of course as we just had to try the full menu). Test House Punch by Marcis Dzelzainis is a refreshing, quaffable and zingy affair that is scooped from a punch bowl on the bar. White – Rosé (Bombay Sapphire, Vanilla, Lemongrass, Camomile, Green Walnut, Celery) is a similar quick serve from Ann-Sophie Brune-Bau (James T. Hunt, Munich) and is equally delicious.
After more nattering with artists and bartenders, a few too many trips to the photobooth by the bathrooms and a lot more to the bar for a G&T top-up, we head off feeling giddy that our creative juices have been allowed to flow freely alongside the gin. We can’t wait to see how the space is transformed by the artwork over the coming days and would heartily recommend a trip to the pop-up.
CANVAS opens to the public today (18th July). Tickets are priced at £12 and can be purchased by visiting www.bombaysapphirecanvas.com. As part of the global mission to Stir Creativity, Bombay Sapphire will donate all ticket sales proceeds from the CANVAS London event to charity Developing Artists.
The event will take place at N&C Showrooms, 3-10 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6PG