Gin & Tonic is without any doubt a very big hype at the moment, no matter where you go, which country you are in Gin & Tonic is more present than ever. The same goes for Belgium… Last week (15/08) I was finally able to get to Imagin a pop-up bar specialized in Gin & Tonic’s. I know you might not expect it, but I took my mom to Imagin as August 15th is mother’s day in Antwerp (not sure why it is a different day than in the rest of Belgium, it just is). After a long walk along the beach it seemed like a perfect plan to end our unexpected sunny day (before dinner that is) with some Gin & Tonic. I wasn’t sure if my mom liked Gin & Tonic, but I found out that back in the day she didn’t mind drinking Gin & Tonic’s 🙂 🙂 Who knew??
The reason I wanted to come to Imagin was because besides the classic Gin & Tonic, they also have some pimped versions. Their original idea was to ask bartenders to make some Gin & Tonic creations which they would do great, but it seemed to be more interesting to have people from different backgrounds like artists or creative people to make their interpretation of Gin & tonic… So they asked a lightning designer, coffee brewer, perfumer, chocolatier, a former dental technician (hope he didn’t make his creation to dental fresh 😉 ), king of fire (BBQ king) and a few other people to make their own Gin Tonic.
Imagin’s setting is quite unique as it is situated in a former antique shop that still has all the original furniture. It is true that at the inside it might be a bit dark, but for me it gives the place a bit of a colonial feel… which fits (to my opinion) right in the Gin & tonic theme knowing Gin & Tonic originates back from the British East India Company in India around the 19th century (aka colonial time 🙂 )
Imagin only uses Bombay Sapphire gin for its Gin & Tonic combinations… Why? Why not!? I know there are lots of different kinds and types of Gin, but when I think of Gin I picture the azure colored Bombay Sapphire bottle… as that was the first Gin bottle I remember seeing when I was still a small boy and from playing the annual Bombay Sapphire Golf tournament.
Anyhow, I’m wondering off, back to the Gin & Tonic’s! The Creative people they had invited were no one less than one of the world’s best chocolatiers Dominique Persoone and coffee – tea brewer/roaster Eveline Hoorens aka Panamarenko’s wife.
Dominique Persoone’s creation was the “Cacao hardcore”. As you might already assume from the name and knowing Dominique is a chocolatier there will be chocolate involved… There was 🙂 Dominique based himself on a classical cacao drink from the Maya’s although it is not an obvious combination Gin and chocolate, big D added some Angostura, port (to make it a bit sweeter) and egg white to pimp it up and make it all Rock ‘n roll. Yes, Egg white as to make it airier… to “whisk” he used something called a Molinillo which is an Ancient Mexican Hot Chocolate frother. He wanted to make it airier because according to the Ancient Mexicans the more air the more flavors you’ll taste from the chocolate. To finish his Gin & Tonic he added some Fever Tree tonic and what else a skull shaped chocolate praline 🙂 The chocolate is best to be eaten last otherwise it would overrule the tastes of the Gin & Tonic. I think Dominique missed his call as cocktail shaker!
Eveline’s creation was something completely different already starting with the name “Hinky Pinky Robby”. Eveline inspired herself on Arabica berries first of all because when they are picked they are in her favorite color red, secondly because of the sweet taste they have. She also made use of a tea from red fruits and hibiscus from which she made red ice cubes that slowly melt when adding the Gin & Tonic and gives a beautiful color to the drink. In the naming of her Gin& Tonic she wanted to involve her husband’s art “Robby” refers to “Arlikoop” a robot like art piece she made together with her husband and the First part of the name refers to the Hinky Pinky Prova Car her husband made. But I think another reference to her husband was the small robot tea holder 🙂 To finish it all she added a little bouquet of freshly picked herbs…A wonderful smell I must say! Which made drinking a Gin & Tonic a whole different experience.
I can’t say I preferred one of them better as it were both very different creations. If you prefer having a more authentic Gin & Tonic flavor I’d go for the ‘Hinky Pinky Robby’ if not I’d go for the ‘Cacao hardcore. I’m glad I could try both of them! If you want to try to make them yourself stay tuned as I’ll post the recipes soon!! In case you don’t feel like making it yourself just go and try it at Imagin. FYI don’t forget to reserve your seats as they are only open if invited or reserved a table via the following link
OMG I have outdone myself again with explaining too much 🙂