The Gin Jubilee was originally started in Singapore a couple of years ago by the good people of East Imperial http://eastimperial.com in order to find the best G&T the City had to offer.
I am a gin girl though and through, but it must be said that since moving to Asia, I am drinking them less and less as it is surprisingly difficult to have a well made G&T that really hits the spot, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to learn that my visit to Phnom Penh coincided with the launch of Gin Jubilee here in Cambodia!
The first G&T I tried was the eventual winner, the “Phnom Neang Korn Rey” at the Elephant Bar at Raffles Hotel Le Royal, made using Sipsmith London Dry Gin, East Imperial Burma Tonic, foraged “Ma Orm” Leaves and Homemade Pomelo Bitters. A steal at $7 I loved everything about this G&T from the pretty cut glass tumbler it was served in, to the garnish of Ma Orm and cucumber, not to mention the excellent Sipsmith (one of my new favourite gins of choice at the moment, especially in a Gibson – try it if you haven’t already!) and of course the Burma Tonic. The Burma Tonic Water has double the amount of natural cane sugar than the standard East Imperial Tonic Water, it is also the tonic water with the highest levels of quinine available, which pretty much makes it the original anti-malarial. The tonic has a lovely citrus aroma to it, with notes of lemongrass and Manao (Asian lime) making it a great choice of Tonic water for classic London Dry Gins such as Sipsmith or those with Citrus notes like Beefeater (another of my go-to gins)
Later in the evening we made our way to the oh-so cool “Samai Distillery” http://samaidistillery.com/ for their weekly Thursday night pop up bar where the team from La Familia http://la-familia.co/ were mixing up some outstanding G&T inspired cocktails using their range of fine, imported spirits as well as homemade bitters, tinctures, fresh herbs, juices and garnishes.
My next G&T was at Che Culo http://www.checulocambodia.com/ where they were making use of my other favourite gin of the moment No3 London Dry Gin and the Original East Imperial Tonic which was topped with a delicious rosemary infused Campari float. The Campari float added a great texture or “mouth-feel” to the G&T and whilst it wasn’t classic, the different flavours and aromas worked perfectly and I may just have to infuse a bottle of Campari with rosemary myself. Che Culo is a fun little bar and I wished I had had more time on this trip to have a proper meal there as the Tacos looked great!
After Che Culo, it was back to Raffles for the closing night of Gin Jubilee ,where the gardens had been transformed into a wonderful sort of gin market and different bars were there to display their own versions of the classic G&T. It was really interesting to see lots of other gins available including Dodds and St George and I have a feeling my back bar is going to be expanding very shortly as a result!