What’s the first thing that comes to mind when prompted with the word “botanicals?” Odds are a botanical garden or a bottle of shampoo are the first things that pop into people’s brains. That even includes people who otherwise love fine beverages and spirits.
It’s another bottle full of botanicals that we’ll be tackling today however and it’s Gin. Gin is one of the major types of liquor but it’s also one of the most overlooked.
Two brands that came out within the last 40 years aim to move Gin to the forefront of the conversation: Hendricks vs Bombay Sapphire.
Hendrick’s or Bombay Sapphire
Even if you’re not normally a Gin drinker you’ve probably come across Hendrick’s Gin at some point. It’s one of those brands that seems like it has always been around.
It’s bottled in a unique apothecary style brown bottle that harkens back to the olden days. Surprisingly, Hendrick’s Gin is not one of the first Gin brands and it’s not even an older brand.
It’s so new that if it were a person it would just barely be above the legal drinking age.
Hendrick’s Gin was launched in Scotland in 1999. It could be argued that the world didn’t need just another Gin brand.
Thankfully, Hendrick’s Gin is anything but just another Gin brand. The producers of Hendrick’s aimed to put out a premium Gin that turned heads. They achieved this goal by creating a Gin with a special blend of botanicals which includes Rose and Cucumber.
New, premium, and unique? It seems like the Hendrick’s vs Bombay Sapphire may be a one-sided affair but not so fast. Bombay Sapphire is also relatively young, premium, and distinctive. The matchup of Bombay Sapphire vs Hendrick’s Gin is one that needs to play out.
Bombay Sapphire simply has the look of a quality product. The bottle is a beautiful color of blue that was inspired by a rare sapphire called the Star of Bombay. The Gin inside the bottle is just as special as the alluring blue hue.
Bombay Sapphire is a light and smooth Gin created in England in 1986. It wasn’t that long ago but compared to Hendrick’s it has been around for a while.
Bombay Sapphire is an extremely versatile Gin that lends itself to Gin & Tonics, refreshing Gin cocktails, or being served straight up. The Bombay Spirits Company is currently a subsidiary of Bacardi Limited.
Hendricks Vs Bombay Sapphire – How Are They Made?
Gin production for the average Gin can be a simple procedure. Neutral alcohol made from grains is distilled and infused with botanicals (including juniper berries). Most commonly, the botanicals are steeped in alcohol.
Bombay Sapphire and Hendrick’s Gin are not your average Gins. They take the extra steps with fine ingredients to achieve the desired flavors.
Bombay Sapphire production starts with neutral alcohol made from grains. From there Bombay picks out super high-quality ingredients and botanicals to use in a vapor infusion.
Basically, the ingredients are placed in baskets above the alcohol during distillation. When the vapors rise they pass through the basket and take on the aroma and flavor of the botanicals.
Bombay Sapphire uses a combination of Carted-Head stills and Copper Pot stills. In case you were wondering they are names Tom, Mary, Henry, and Victoria.
The pre-distillation steps to create Hendrick’s Gin are very similar to the process for Bombay Sapphire. Hendrick’s Gin is distilled using two different types of stills called the Carter-Head still and the Bennett still.
The Bennett still is an older copper still that uses the more conventional method of steeping botanicals in the base alcohol for a rich flavor.
The Carter-Head uses steam as described above to produce a light subtle Gin. The two liquids are combined after distillation to create the remarkable Hendrick’s Gin.
Hendricks Vs Bombay Sapphire – What Are They Made Of?
Just like with its production process, Hendrick’s Gin is happy to promote its list of ingredients and botanicals.
Hendrick’s Gin uses conventional botanicals like angelica root, caraway seeds, yarrow, elderflower, orris root, chamomile, lemon peel, cubeb berries, coriander seeds, orange peel, and juniper. Hendrick’s Gin also uses Bulgarian rose and cucumber to achieve the desired profile.
Bombay Sapphire sticks a little closer to expected Gin ingredients that include angelica root, almond, juniper berries, lemon peel, licorice, cassia, cubeb berries, coriander, grains of paradise, and orris root.
How Are They Similar?
Hendrick’s Gin and Bombay Sapphire are each unique in their own right. That being said, they have a lot in common.
They are both high-proof Gins made with the finest botanicals. Hendrick’s uses two distillation methods but they share the use of the Carter-Head still and vapor infusion.
Both Gin brands are just as good straight-up or mixed up in a premium cocktail.
Price, Size, Colour, Alcohol Percentage Comparison
At launch, The Original Hendrick’s Gin was the only member of the family. Hendrick’s added other varieties in 2017 and has continued to add to the team. Hendrick’s Gin keeps to 750 ml and 1.75 L bottles with a few exceptions.
Hendrick’s Gin prices range from $38.99 to $43.99 for a 750 ml bottle. All Hendrick’s Gin varieties are clear in color, have varied botanical ingredients, and are nominally more expensive.
The Original Hendrick’s Gin is 88 Proof (44% alcohol by volume) and the other varieties are 86.8 Proof (43.4% alcohol by volume).
- The Original Hendrick’s Gin
- 750 ml, From $38.99
- Hendrick’s Neptunia Gin
- 750 ml, From $42.99
- Hendrick’s Lunar Gin
- 750 ml, From $42.99
- Midsummer Solstice
- 750 ml, From $40.99
- Hendrick’s Orbium Gin
- 750 ml, From $43.99
Bombay Sapphire is the most important Gin in the Bombay portfolio. The rest of the line consists of a Dry Gin, a different botanical blend, a flavored Gin, and pre-packaged ready-to-drink Gin & Tonic cocktails.
Bombay Sapphire is offered in single serve sizes as well as the standard 375 ml, 750 ml, and 1.75 L bottles.
Bombay Sapphire is less expensive than Hendrick’s Gin coming in at $23.99 for a 750 ml bottle. All the Gin varietals with the exception of Bombay Bramble (red) are clear in color.
Bombay Gin is high proof and the specific strengths are noted below.
- Bombay Sapphire Gin – 94 Proof
- 750 ml, From $23.99
- Bombay Dry Gin – 86 Proof
- 750 ml, From $19.99
- Bombay Sapphire East – 84 Proof
- 750 ml, From $23.99
- Bombay Bramble – 86 Proof
- 750 ml, From $23.99
- Bombay Sapphire Gin & Tonic (Ready To Drink) – 5.9% ABV
- 4 Pack – 250 ml Cans, From $13.99
How to Drink?
Gin is most certainly not the first liquor most people reach for when taking a shot of booze. Bombay Sapphire and Hendrick’s Gin are not your average Gins. They are both high quality and work quite nicely on their own.
They also both have distinctive botanical flavors that sparkle in a Gin & Tonic or many other cocktails. Here are some of our favorites for each Gin:
Raspberry & Mint Twist
- 1 Part Bombay Sapphire
- 3 Parts Premium Tonic Water
- Fresh Raspberries (for Garnish)
- Mint Leaves & Sprigs (for Garnish)
Start by adding raspberries and mint leaves into a cocktail glass. Add Bombay Sapphire and swirl well to incorporate. Fill the glass with ice and top with tonic water. Gently stir to combine and garnish with a spring of mint.
- 50 ml Hendrick’s Gin
- 100 ml Pink Grapefruit Juice
- 15 ml Sugar Syrup
- Soda Water
- Grapefruit Wedge (for Garnish)
Rim a highball glass with salt and fill it with ice. Combine all liquid ingredients in the glass. Stir lightly, garnish with a grapefruit wedge and serve.
Hendrick’s Gin is a new and exciting brand of Gin. It shares qualities with other popular brands while setting itself apart with the addition of rose and cucumber added.
Some other solid options if Hendrick’s isn’t available are Martin Miller’s London Dry Gin and Silent Pool Gin. Martin Miller may be the most similar as it is also made with two separate distillations.
Some comparable Gins to Bombay Sapphire are Tanqueray and Beefeater.
Which came first?
A lot of times when discussing when various spirits were introduced you need to go back many centuries. That’s not the case with these two Gin brands. Bombay Sapphire launched in 1986 came first followed by Hendrick’s in 1999.
Which is more popular?
Both are popular and highly celebrated Gin brands.
Which is stronger?
Both of these beverages are at the high end of all spirits in terms of strength but Bombay has the edge.
Bombay Sapphire is 94 (47.5% alcohol by volume) Proof and Hendrick’s Gin is 88 Proof (44% alcohol by volume) for the original variety.