By Yann Bayeul, Eurostar Catering Product and Service Manager

On the eve of its 21st birthday in November 2015, Eurostar unveiled its very own gin designed by Business Premier Culinary Director, Raymond Blanc OBE, in partnership with artisan producers, Silent Pool Distillers.

Named Toujours 21, the bespoke gin encapsulates Eurostar’s heritage, reminiscent of both British and French cultures. Just as all our food here at Eurostar contains local produce, so does our gin. It features honey made from our bees over at our maintenance depot. The team have worked closely with the ‘Honey Club’ to introduce bee hives and as a result we’ve created our own honey, which is also used across a range of desserts served on board.

Our vision

When designing the gin, Raymond’s vision was to take travellers on a journey of taste that played upon all the subtleties of the brand. The aromatic notes of lavender hint to Eurostar’s latest Provencal destination, while the delicate yet clean taste of the angelica evoke memories of the British countryside.

Partnering with Silent Pool Distillers was a natural fit, as the craftsmen share Eurostar and Raymond’s passion for sustainable ingredients of local provenance. Nestled in the heart of the rural Surrey Hills, the team create the gin from the crystal clear spring waters in their very own ‘Silent Pool’.

The team at Silent Pool Distillery pride themselves in hand-making artisanal spirits using local resources and botanicals.

Eurostar’s commitment to sustainable ingredients

The introduction of the gin in 2015 also marked three years since Eurostar and Raymond joined forces to transform the on-board dining experience for Business Premier passengers. Raymond works with each of Eurostar’s three kitchens to design seasonal menus combining the best of British and French cuisine.

Every meal and menu is created with sustainability and responsible sourcing at its heart. All of our ingredients are carefully selected so they are fairtrade or organic, free from genetically modified products and sourced from farmers committed to high environmental standards.

Honey

At Eurostar we are committed to reducing our impact on the environment.  We work closely with Global Generational and its Honey Club in the King’s Cross area, which resulted in the introduction of bee hives at our Stratford depot in 2011.

Bees are hugely important to the environment, and the pollination which they provide has a huge impact on agriculture. We therefore decided to introduce our first hives at Mersham, in Kent, close to the HS1 railway line.  We are set for expansion of the number of hives in 2017 as they are flourishing well.  It is vital that bees pollinate the orchards, vineyards and farmlands of what is unsurprisingly called “The Garden of England”.

Customer feedback

Since we introduced Toujours 21 in our Business Premier, the feedback has been extremely positive. Our gin is a fantastic point of interaction as most of customers stop by the display asking questions about the history of the gin, its ingredients and the partnership with Raymond.

We have also observed a decrease in consumption of other spirits as customers have been encouraged to drink Toujours 21 and try something new. Finally, the gin is so popular that customers have asked us where to purchase our gin so we had to find an easy way to sell it online. We now have a glorifier with some business cards informing customers how to get a bottle should they be interested.