Oliver Twist London Distilled Gin on the Istanbul Express

Time came for the Istanbul Show to get on the road with the International Cocktail Creator Ozzie Oscar De Paita and the Italian fashion photographer Virgilio la Vespa (Vivi to friends). Prior to their departure from the Oliver Twist Gin home in the Italian Ligurian Riviera on the outskirts of beautiful City of Genoa in Italy, Ozzie decided to research what could be a Turkish Gin cocktail which would work in Istanbul. While Vivi sat carefully watching while sipping his Oliver Twist Dry Gin poured into the renowned De Paita Negroni, Ozzie was thinking deeply. It should be a Gin and Tonic, with an accent on the word and, not just Gin Tonic. It should highlight the Oliver Twist Gin flavour to its fullest potential. Strong and not much tonic. Then it struck him the key ingredient would be green mandarins’ from holiday resort of Bodrum. Why asked Vivi who was once again fascinated as ever in seeing the magical skills of Ozzie at work. His response was straight forward. The many times he visited Istanbul, experiencing the nightlife, sipping a cocktail here and there but primarily on the banks of the Bosphorus from the Kempinski Gardens, there was always one great Turkish ingredient and that was mandarins. However, green mandarins from Bodrum is a great enhancer to an Oliver Twist gin as the peel already forms part of the botanical distillation in London. Brilliant! He named his cocktail ahead of his trip the Yell Yelkenci! 50% Frozen Oliver Twist and that’s difficult. Juiced mandarins with green peel and iced into round ice balls about half the size of a table tennis ball with Turkish hot spice powder. This will show through with red spots in the ice balls. 25% Sansini Bianco Vermouth which is really dry, served at room temperature. Again 25% Tonic served at room temperature and poured over Sansini Bianco Vermouth and the block of iced Oliver Twist. Watch it slowly melt outside enjoying an Istanbul sunset and see how the ice balls begin to float. The viscosity of Oliver Twist will be there to be seen and it could be one spots slight hints of mandarin green coming through as the ice cubes begin to melt. For Vivi this was magic and he quickly started clicking shots from his mystical camera.

Both boarded the direct THY flight to Istanbul. Landed and met on the tarmac by Nadir Yelkenci the utmost spirits expert in Istanbul, they were whisked away by helicopter to their hotel on the banks of the Bosphorus, taking with them a case of Oliver Twist London Distilled Dry Gin. How they managed to pull that one through Duty Free one must Ozzie only when he is in a mood to let you know some of his secrets. Their rooms were looking over the Bosphorus which instantly gave them some great inspirations on how to make good their presentation when they were out on display with Nadir Yelkenci. The Kempinski is and remains the most stunning of hotels in Istanbul and has always been a favourite for Vivi to sip a De Paita Negroni after a fashion shoot.

The three musketeers with Nadir leading the way made out to the gardens along the shore of the river facing the island on which James bond made a few miracles to save the planet. Ozzie immediately went to work on his Turkish cocktail while Nadir was busy doing all the translations and helping guests to understands the complex creation of this unique cocktail. Nadir was thriving on the ingredients and that a number of the spices were actually from turkey. He also spent much time on the green mandarins which were juiced and with the addition of Red spiced made into Ice Balls which just looked like something out of a James Bond movie.

With over 150 guests all were really busy for most of the night but eventually under the ever changing lights of the gorgeous overhead bridge which I call the Istanbul Golden Gate, the three musketeers eventually were able to sit back and relax for a while to admire the sites across the lively Bosphorus with Nadir explaining how the Turkish Spirit market functions from Istanbul to the black sea and the southern holiday resort. His experience is “second to none” and no wonder he is assisting various drink associations throughout the world. There is really quite nobody like him in Turkey. A real ambassador for the country! His words are short and simple “Live and let live” and were best to say such inspirational words if not on the banks of the Bosphorus.

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