Archive for Boozy

Empress 1908 Gin Cocktail {Vegan}

I am a girl who likes a good cocktail. I appreciate the ability to mix flavours and the creativity that comes with being a good bartender. It is, I think, an underrated skill. 

As Vancouver has become more and more interested in food, it’s also become more and more interested in locally-produced craft beer, wine and spirts, and this makes me really happy. I’d much prefer to support a local producer if possible. 

There are a few great spirits producers in the Okanagan (Legend is one of my faves), and here in Vancouver we’ve got Long Table, Sons of Vancouver, Odd Society, and Sid’s, just to name a few. 

Vancouver Island also has seen a crop of distilleries over the last few years, specializing in gin. Sheringham is killing it right now, winning tons of awards. I have long loved Stump Gin, which tastes like Christmas trees. And then a few years back, Empress 1908 Gin burst onto the scene, and got tons of attention for its delicate qualities and gorgeous blue-purple colour. 

I got to visit the distillery in Sydney and see how they make it. The colour comes from Butterfly Pea Tea, which brews up blue, but turns purple when you add acid to it. 

This is a classic “sour” recipe. That means you have a base spirit (in this case the Empress 1908 Gin), an acid (often lemon or lime juice), a simple syrup to sweeten (in this case I’m using a plain simple syrup, but it gives you an opportunity to be creative and add another layer by flavouring the simple syrup), and often it’s finished with egg whites. The egg whites foam as you shake the cocktail, making a creamy white foamy layer on the top of the cocktail. 

Now, some people have anxieties about consuming raw egg whites, and some people are vegan, so I used aquafaba instead. 

And in case you’re worried your cocktail will taste like beans, let me put your mind to rest. I’ve done side-by-side blind taste tests using egg whites and aquafaba, and there’s no way to tell the difference. 

a purple ombre cocktail garnished with flowers

So, here is my version of the Empress 1908 Gin Cocktail, but done vegan. 

Empress 1908 Gin Cocktail {Vegan}

Ingredients: 

  • 1 ½- 2 oz Empress 1908 Gin
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • ¾ oz simple syrup
  • ¾ oz aquafaba
  • Butterfly pea tea for garnish (optional)

Method: 

Rhubarb Syrup (and a cocktail recipe!)

Sweet, sweet spring. 

For me, the first sign of spring is rhubarb popping up at the Farmer’s Markets. I tend to overdose on it for a while, putting it in everything until I get sick (?) of it. 

I sometimes go back to old favourites. But I also like to try something new. 

This year, I made a Rhubarb Syrup. It’s simple to make, but I had misgivings when I started out. The rhubarb I had was quite green. It was ripe, it just had a lot of green colour in it, and not much pink. I wanted a syrup that was that delicate shade of pink, and I was afraid it wouldn’t work with the green rhubarb. 

A pink drink made with rhubarb syrup

But some kind of a weird miracle happened and the syrup turned out to be the most perfect and gorgeous shade. 

Rhubarb tends to be on the tart side, so you need to temper it with a bit of sugar, but the key is to create a balance. You don’t want to lose all the tartness of the rhubarb, you just want to take the edge off. You don’t want it to be too sweet. 

Basically, this experiment turned out pretty darn perfect. 

Once you’ve made the syrup, you have lots of ways to use it. 

Add a tablespoon or a bit more to the bottom of a glass, then add a handful of ice and top it off with sparking water or club soda. It’s refreshing, pink, and just a hint tart. 

Of course, if you want a more grownup version, you can add a shot of vodka or gin. 

You could also spoon this over vanilla ice cream (rhubarb and vanilla play very nicely together), or a panna cotta. You could even put it on pancakes or waffles! 

Rhubarb Syrup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar

Method: 

Rhubarb season is almost over. But if you have too much, here are some ideas to help you use it up. I also chop it and freeze it on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and once it’s frozen, I store it in a zip top bag in the freezer so that I have rhubarb all year long. 

 

 

 

 

« Older Entries