Good bartending is like good cooking—more often than not, the best results come from keeping it simple. Cluttering up your drink with countless ingredients usually doesn’t turn out well.

The winning cocktail for the 2014 Bombay Sapphire World’s Most Imaginative Bartender contest came from the mind of Remy Savage of Little Red Door in Paris. Dubbed the Paper Anniversary, it involves just three ingredients: Bombay Sapphire, saline solution, and paper syrup.

Yep, that’s right—paper syrup (made from scratch, of course).


Photo: Bar Magazine

Competitors who traveled to Hampshire for the event were asked to take inspiration from the English countryside, and Savage was particularly fascinated by the smells of printing mills and books. Bombay Sapphire’s distillery is moving into the Laverstoke Mill, a paper mill that formerly printed pound notes.

Savage got his idea for the drink while taking a tour of the facility. He told Alcademics: “I tried to think of what paper smells like. The challenge was to go from a smell to a taste.”

According to Alcademics, he started with a basic simple syrup (roughly equal parts sugar and water), then added vanilla pods, fresh-cut grass from outside the hotel where the competition was staged, gentian root, Suze liqueur (which is gentian-rich), and some Laphroaig 10-year Scotch to add a bit of woody peat flavor.

As for the saline solution, Savage says it’s commonly used at LRD to kick up the flavor of drinks. Makes sense—salt should never be strong enough to be a flavor on its own, but a small amount can enhance the flavor of just about anything.

remy savage paper anniversary

Photo: Alcademics

For the pièce de résistance, Savage sourced bank notes that had been printed at Laverstoke Mill to use as garnish. Money!

You can find the full recipe for Paper Anniversary here.

So, what did Savage win, besides the title? Bar Magazine reports that he took home a cool £10,000 ($16,834) prize, which included a pin made from part of the sapphire for which Bombay Sapphire is named. He will also earn a place in the Laverstoke Mill distillery Cocktail Hall of Fame.

Additionally, Savage and Bombay Sapphire global brand ambassador Raj Nagra will collaborate on a new signature cocktail in partnership with Virgin Atlantic. Their creation will be featured for 12 months on Clubhouse menus in the following airports: London Heathrow, Gatwick, JFKNewark, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Johannesburg.

Here’s a video featuring the finalists and winners of the 2014 Bombay Sapphire World’s Most Imaginative Bartender Awards:

[via Alcademics, Bar Magazine]

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