All Aboard Bombay Sapphire’s “Perfect Pairings” Luxury Train
The setting sun + the California coastline
A luxury train car + an exclusive dinner party
- and -
Tara Weaver, a talented personal chef with Hollywood clientele +
James Moreland, Bombay Sapphire’s own Master Mixologist.
It is already known that I think highly of Bombay Sapphire, which I used in creating the Billion-Ayre's Bet, a Signature Cocktail for billionaire, Calvin Ayre. So, being invited to join in on a special "Perfect Pairings" experience was extra special, for me!
A dozen of us boarded the Creative Charters Luxury dining and lounge car, attached to the back of an Amtrak train, en route from San Diego to Los Angeles. And, I'll begin by telling you that I was excited to meet James Moreland! The Aussie-born, Manhattan resident began his climb to cocktailian fame behind the bar at Town, which is known for its stunning drinks and trendy clientele. As he puts it, “Once you’ve worked at Town, you will be hired to bartend anywhere.”
James discovered a love of tending bar upon arriving in New York. He had his “a-ha” moment late one evening, while closing. A man came to the door and asked if he could please drink a sherry while James cleaned up. Moreland allowed him in. The man sat at a table, sipping his sherry and cried for 2 hours. It turns out that he had just lost his wife. As the two left the bar in the wee hours of morning, the man thanked James, and gifted him an expensive pen. Moreland never saw the man again but found meaning in being a conduit for people dealing with life’s celebrations and hardships, and decided to make it his career.
Moreland was invited to join several liquor companies, but felt a connection with Bombay Sapphire. A lover of the 'cocktails of yore,' he felt that working with a high-end gin company fit with his Mixologist philosophies.
Keeping with today’s rules of a quality drink, James uses fresh, local ingredients whenever possible, which happens to complement modern, high-end cuisine. He says he works to “isolate the ingredients,” especially when pairing alongside an acclaimed chef. Moreland feels that paring cocktails with food can be preferable to ordering a bottle of wine. He points out that when dining among friends, a particular bottle of wine may not fit well with each person’s meal. Creating individually paired cocktails ensures customized harmony between dish and drink.
Our 3-hour journey between San Diego and LA began on the windowed, upper level of the wood-and-brass train car, where we nibbled on artisanal cheeses and Italian salami.
Soon, our gracious rail hostess, Jenah, brought up our first cocktail of the evening: The Dragonfly. Featuring Bombay Sapphire, Pomegranate Liqueur and a hint of lemon, this cocktail’s tart acidity provides Heavenly balance against the creaminess of goat cheese.
We also nibbled on mini seafood tostadas as we chatted about antique cocktail shakers, classic drink recipes and admired surfers catching waves alongside the railroad.
Soon, it was time to descend to the formal dining room, just below. The gorgeous table setting was the perfect backdrop for the herbaceous, savory, and slightly sweet cocktails we sipped alongside a sumptuous supper.
First Course: Sapphire White Ginger Martini (Fabulous with a crab cake in sweet pepper and lime vinaigrette)
1 part Bombay Sapphire
Slither of Fresh Ginger
8 White Grapes
1/2 part Fresh Apple Juice
Muddle ginger and grapes at the bottom of a shaker, add remaining ingredients with lots of ice. Shake and double strain into chilled martini glass.
Main Course: Sapphire Melon (Presented with Idaho Nut-Crusted Trout, Wild Mushroom Rice with Fresh Herbs and Grilled Asparagus With Garlic and Shallots)
1 1⁄4 parts Bombay Sapphire
4 pieces of honeydew melon
Juice of half a tangerine
Dash of simple syrup
Dash or orange bitters
1 mint leaf
Splash of soda
In stirring glass, muddle melon with the juice of tangerine. Fill glass with ice. Add bitters, syrup and mint leaf and give it a royal shake. Pour into rocks glass and top off with a splash of soda or ginger ale, or serve up, double strained into martini glass. (Works both ways.)
Dessert: Sapphire Bubbles (Served alongside strawberry crepes with midori, kiwi reduction.)
1 1⁄4 parts Sapphire
1 tsp fine sugar
Juice of half a lemon
2 parts Dry champagne (prosecco is great!)
1⁄2 part Mandarin liqueur
Mix lemon juice and fine sugar into stirring glass, then fill stirring glass with ace add Sapphire and Mandarin Liqueur and shake. Strain into chilled martini glass, or champagne flute and top with dry champagne.
Try some of these pairings for your next dinner party! And, subscribe to the Liquid Museletter to get updates for Bombay Sapphire’s Perfect Pairing Events, from coast to coast, this Fall! I know DC is already scheduled for September 27… Sipsters will get more details as I do!