Tag Archive for victoria distilling

Lavender French 75

It was all going so well… vaccines are being rolled out, progress is being made…

And then infection rates soared to the highest they’ve been ever. Ever.

Here in BC, that’s lead to a partial lockdown. In addition to all the restrictions we had before, we’re also now not allowed to eat in restaurants. Restaurants are allowed to do take out, or if they have a patio, they’re allowed to keep that open, but no in-house dining.

Lavender French 75

It’s been a tough week. We’ve all been living such restricted lives this past year, some of us (depending on where you live) more than others. For me, going out once a week or so with a friend for a nice happy hour or a dinner was the last thing that really brought me joy and a sense of normalcy in my life. And now that’s gone… at least for three weeks.

So here we are, living alone again, in our own places, just trying to stay safe and cope the best way we can.

I’m grateful that we’re not on full lockdown here, so at least I can get out and go for walks, and that helps. But I’m basically not seeing any friends or eating out at all, other than takeout.

It felt like this turn of events needed one thing: booze.

Okay, I’m joking. Kinda. But also, what else is there to do? I cannot do another zoom call. I’ve watched everything on Netflix and Prime. The new season of Top Chef is here just in the nick of time.

So here is a pretty, simple and easy-to-make cocktail. Bonus, it contains lavender, which has calming effects on the nervous system. You could techincally use any gin in this Lavender French 75, but I like to use the Empress 1908 Gin that’s blue in the bottle, and then turns a beautiul shade of lavender when you add lemon juice to it. It’s locally distilled in Sydney, BC, at Victoria Distillers.

This is a twist on a classic cocktail called the French 75, which dates back 100 years. Still good.

Lavender French 75

Ingredients 

  • 1 oz Empress 1908 gin
  • 1/2 oz lavender simple syrup (see below)
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 2-3 oz prosecco or sparkling white wine

Method

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, place 1 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons lavender flowers. Bring up to a boil, swirling to mix. Once it comes to a boil and the sugar is all dissolved, turn off the heat, and place the syrup aside to cool completely. Once cool, strain into a bottle or a mason jar.
  2. To make the cocktail: in a shaker with ice, place the gin, simple syrup and lemon juice. Shake to chill (don’t go too crazy, gin is delicate!), and then strain into a pretty coupe glass or champagne flute. Top with prosecco, garnish with a lavender sprig or a lemon twist and serve.

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: