I was six when the Buffalo Zoo announced that through an arrangement with the Cincinnati Zoo, Buffalo would soon be home to a cross-eyed white tiger who was mother to almost one fifth of the world’s known population of white tigers. Sumita arrived in Buffalo in June 1989 and was something of a celebrity. Or at least so it seemed to a six-year-old me who lived within walking distance of the zoo. I remember the excitement of my mother [who at this point, I had only seen her as enthusiastic at this when the zoo brought in a Koala the summer prior] as we went to the bustling zoo, to sneak between the crowds and catch a glimpse of the mutant Bengal Tiger [technical term, continuing…]
Sumita passed away in Buffalo in the summer of 1990 and was quickly replaced by a male named Mota later that year. I can recall my younger sister and I each having a stuffed tiger. Hers was the white one and was named Sumita; mine was a traditional orange and black tiger, but owing to the attractive power of the spectacle that was the white tiger in the zoo that summer, I named mine Mota.
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Let’s start at the very beginning. I was taught at a young age that it the most logical, and perhaps “best,” place to start.
There once was a time in my life where gin at the bar was limited to the standards. The junipers. The burning sensation of a foreign beverage. One I didn’t quite understand. It may have been my predilection for the color blue. It may have been pure chance, that my eye, wandered to that shelf in the back and saw the blue bottle- faintly illuminated from the back-bar lights. It was Bombay Sapphire. and it was my first true taste of a gin that made me want to come back for more. I did learn to appreciate, and yes even love, the other colors, the other names and other brands. But Bombay Sapphire does hold a special place in my gin loving heart. And that is why when I heard that Bombay Sapphire East was going to be test-launched here in New York City (along with Las Vegas) I knew I had to try it immediately.
Back to the Present
I saw the bottle at Astor Place Wines and Spirits last Friday and bough it.
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Today we’re re-visiting a favorite feature of the past. Fentiman’s Tonic Water was one of the notable omissions from the winter series. Although I’ve had it, and enjoyed it before, I didn’t have ready access to it in order to do a proper review. Fortunately, a supermarket near me now stocks it, and Fentiman’s has gone from an obscure oddity to a regular presence in my fridge.
The first thing you’ll notice about Fentiman’s is the strong herbal notes. Lemongrass is prominent and almost the dominant counterpart to the quinine. Its not as sweet as other tonics, opting for cane sugar over high fructose corn syrup giving it a sharper sweetness. One of the best features is that it seems more carbonated than other tonics. It tastes and feels fizzier, meaning your gin and tonic will stay fizzier longer.
The only major drawback I can think of in terms of gin and tonic is that it is the most expensive per oz. of all of the high end tonics. I’m not saying its not worth it for serious gin and tonic drinkers, but it’s likely not your best bet for a party.
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