Tag Archive for gin

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.

Rhubarb Mojito

Okay, this is the last one. I promise. Maybe.

Yes, yes, I’m pretty obsessed with rhubarb right now. I can’t help it. Rhubarb just makes me so darn happy. Spring makes me so darn happy.

You know what else makes me happy? Gin.

Rhubarb Mojito

I should say, for the record, that mojitos are normally made with rum. The technique includes “muddling” which is basically squishing a few ingredients (usually some combination of fruit, mint leaves, and lime) all together to get them release their juices and oils. You then add the rest of the ingredients and shake it all together to make a tasty, tasty beverage.

Mojitos taste like summer to me. They are bright, refreshing, and often incorporate seasonal fresh fruit.

I like different kinds of liquor as the base for my mojitos, other than rum. I went through a phase a while back where I put Vanilla Vodka into all my mojitos.

Now, it’s gin.

I like to use gin here, as it has has nice floral overtones that work well with the strawberries and the rhubarb.

Cheers to summer!!

Rhubarb Mojito

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large stalks rhubarb
  • 1.5 oz gin
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • fresh strawberries
  • fresh mint

Method

  1. Make the rhubarb simple syrup: add the water and sugar to a saucepan. Chop the rhubarb and add it as well. Bring the mixture up a boil, and allow the sugar to dissolve into the water. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to sit for about an hour until it cools and simple syrup turns a nice pink colour. Drain off the rhubarb solids and reserve the syrup.
  2. To make the cocktail: place 3 mint leaves in the bottom of your cocktail shaker, along with a roughly-chopped strawberry. Muddle together.
  3. Add 1.5 oz gin, 1 oz lime juice and 1 oz simple syrup. Top up with ice and shake well to combine.
  4. Strain into a glass and garnish with a sliced strawberry and mint leaves.