Blueberry Cucumber Gin Smash

Earlier this week, I left you with a non-alcoholic cool-me-down drink, but today’s version is for the grownups.

I should just say (and not to be a downer here) that you should probably watch the amount of alcohol you consume in the summer, as it is dehydrating. Yes, I know, a delicious cold beer or cider is super refreshing on a hot day, but just be mindful.

Okay! PSA over! Let’s talk gin!

Gin Smash Cocktail

Gin is a fantastic summer drink. It’s light and refreshing, and has floral notes from the juniper. It pairs beautifully with lighter ingredients, like cucumber, mint and citrus, which makes it even better for summer sipping on a patio or beside a lake.

One of my favourite local producers of gin is Victoria Distillers. They’re located in Sidney, which is right as soon as you get off the ferry onto Vancouver Island, if you are taking the Tswassen–Swartz Bay route. I was driving through Sidney recently, and I had to stop and see where they made my favourite purple gin. Victoria distillers

You see, a couple years back, Victoria Distillers launched a new product. It’s called Empress 1908 Gin, and it’s made with Empress tea (yes, from that Empress hotel) and butterfly pea tea, which is what gives it its unique purple colour. You know how obsessed I am with butterfly pea tea, and it’s super cool, colour-changing properties. Empress Gin ingredients

The distillery is just a couple years old, and built right on the water. They have a gorgeous tasting room, shop and bar out front (complete with patio on the water) and in the back, they distill and bottle their various liquors (which include gin, a bourbon-barrel aged gin, and several vodkas). Victoria distillers plant

They are open every day from noon, so you can stop by yourself and check the place out, try some spirits, or have one of their creative cocktails at the bar.

By the way, the purple gin has done so well for them, that they are now bottling up 6,000 per week, and receiving orders as far away as Japan and Bermuda. That is a BC success story if I ever heard one!

Here’s my recipe, inspired by my visit. It’s kind of a cross between a mojito and a G&T, though there’s no tonic needed here. Feel free to top it up with some if you like.

Blueberry Cucumber Gin Smash

Blueberry Cucumber Gin Smash


  • 1.5 oz gin
  • 10 blueberries
  • 2″ round of cucumber, chopped rough
  • 6 mint leaves
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • ice


  1. In the bottom of your cocktail shaker, place the blueberries, cucumbers and mint. Muddle well together (this is the “smash” part, get it?).
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and the ice. Shake well until the outside of the cocktail shaker is frosted.
  3. Strain into a glass with fresh ice, and garnish with a slice of cucumber and a few blueberries.

Iced Chai Lemonade

Holy smokes it’s hot.

It’s August and we’re about to flee the city for a cabin on a lake for a while. Thank goodness. Because as much as I’ve been travelling and exploring this summer, so much of it has been in the name of work. Fun work, to be fair, but work (in the form of creating content) nevertheless.

The cabin by the lake doesn’t have wifi, and electricity is somewhat challenging, so that kinda limits the amount of work I’m able to do. Forced relaxation FTW!

Chai Lemonade

One of my jaunts this summer took me over to Vancouver Island, and to the Nanaimo Farmer’s Market.

One of the vendors there was a local guy who was selling chai tea. Now you know I love chai. It’s warming and spicy and…. great in the colder fall and winter months. In the summer, though?? When it’s blazing hot? Not so much.

Believe it or not, it’s actually good to drink hot liquid in the hot months. You see, it raises your internal temperature, so you don’t feel so hot. Having said that, I’ll still be sticking with my iced coffees for a bit, thankyouverymuch.

The Chai Guy was doing an iced chai as well, mixed with lemonade, and it was a really wonderful summer drink. A little spicy, not too sweet, clean and refreshing. He gave me some of his Citrus Chai blend and the recipe, and I thought I’d share it with you.

This really was something completely new to me… and I like it a lot. I’ve brewed up a batch of it to keep in my fridge and serve over ice.

It’s tasty and cooling. Try it!

By the by, this would also make a very nice cocktail when combined with a shot of vodka or tequila. Just sayin.

Iced Chai Lemonade

Iced Chai Lemonade



  1. Pour the two cups of water into a small saucepan on the stove and add the chai tea. Bring up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain, and allow to cool at least slightly.
  2. In a cocktail shaker (you don’t really need to shake it, you can just mix equal parts tea and lemonade over ice, but I liked the “head” effect I got from shaking it in a cocktail shaker), place some ice. Add 1/2 cup tea and 1/2 cup lemonade, put the top on and shake vigorously. Pour into a glass (with the ice) and enjoy.


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