Tag Archive for empress gin

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: 

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  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.