The Fairmont Empress Q Bar
The Fairmont was so pleased with the signature gin that they created a signature gin sour called the Q 1908 Cocktail.
This is not to be confused with the regular 1908 cocktail that commemorated the centennial anniversary of the hotel.
Alas that cocktail uses a different, non-indigo, gin.
Normally a general word of food and drink advice for Victoria is that only tourist spots are on Government St.
I had more than a few people tell me not to bother going anywhere there.
But as always there are a few exceptions like Garricks Head Pub to drink craft beer in Victoria and the Empress Hotel.
Aside from the gin, the hotel bar is worth a visit.
The bartenders have been working there for decades and have a familiar charm about them.
MAKE IT AT HOME:
For that reason I saw locals stopping in for a drink, including one lovely 80-year old regular who insisted on giving me a kiss on the cheek before I left.
As Paulo Coelho says,
Frequent bars. Unlike museums, this is where the life of the city can be found. Bars are not discotheques, but places where the people gather to have a drink, pass the time, and are always willing to chat.
This was definitely true here.
Q1908 Recipe: Recreating The Fairmont Empress 1908 Gin Cocktail From Our Trip To Canada
I normally dont find myself falling so head-over-heels for hotel signature cocktails but the Q1908 recipe is different, in all the good ways. Thanks to the Empress 1908 gin and egg whites, this cocktail is smooth. The lemon adds a little kick of citrus and the edible flowers finish it off with the perfect floral notes.
Oh, and its purple!!
Its one of those cocktails that makes you feel super fancy when you drink it but its easy enough to make that you can whip up a few rounds over your at-home happy hour and dinner.
And its good for all seasons. Some cocktails in my mind are strictly summer ones but the Q1908 hits the spot on a hot summer day just as much as it felt like the perfect cocktail to sip while listening to Christmas carols under holiday lights in Victoria at the Fairmont.
Empress 1908 Gin 750ml
Micro-distilled in small batch copper-pot stills, Empress 1908 is hand-crafted using eight signature botanicals: tea, juniper, rose, coriander seed, grapefruit peel, ginger root, cinnamon bark, and butterfly pea blossom
Empress 1908 Gin
Since 1908, travelers from around the world have fallen in love with the Fairmont Empress Hotel for its majestic grandeur, picturesque vistas, and incomparable afternoon tea service. Overlooking the Inner Harbour in Victoria, British Columbia, this iconic destination has hosted royalty, dignitaries, and discerning explorers for over a century. Today, as the Empress moves into a new era, it exemplifies a perfect balance of traditional elegance and modern sophistication.
Empress 1908 Gin Eight Natural Botanicals
Micro-distilled in small batch copper-pot stills, Empress 1908 is hand-crafted using eight signature botanicals: tea, juniper, rose, coriander seed, grapefruit peel, ginger root, cinnamon bark, and butterfly pea blossom. Its the pea blossom, which we discovered in one of the Empress tea blends, that imbues the gin with a distinctive earthy note, as well as its vivid hue with a stunning secret to reveal by adding citrus or tonic, Empress 1908 is transformed from breathtaking indigo to a beautiful soft pink.
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Gin Sour The Empress Q1908
The squeezed lemon juice in this gin sour changes the drink from a vibrant indigo to a lovely soft lavender colour.
DONT BE AFRAID OF RECIPES WITH SIMPLE SYRUP: Making a syrup just for cocktails sounds complicated but its really simple. Over medium-low heat put equal parts of water and white sugar into a saucepan and stir. Once the sugar has dissolved into the water remove from the heat and let cool. Voila!
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|4.8 out of 5 stars||4.8 out of 5 stars||4.8 out of 5 stars||4.8 out of 5 stars||4.7 out of 5 stars||4.7 out of 5 stars|
|Serve ice cold with tonic||The perfect choice for the most refreshing gin and tonic, or clean, crisp martini.||Best served chilled.||Serve over ice with a premium tonic, or serve with part fresh Grapefruit Juice and Hibiscus tonic with a garnish of Grapefruit||Enjoy with ice or with some tonic water and Red Berries||Tanqueray Blackcurrant Royale is best enjoyed with premium tonic water, plenty of ice and garnished with a wedge of lemon and a bunch of dark berries|
|7.62 x 7.62 x 30.48 cm 1.13 Kilograms|
|Item model number|
|Best stored in a cool dark place.|
|Serving Recommendation||Serve ice cold with tonic|
|Country of origin|
|Country of origin of primary ingredient||Canada|
|4.8 out of 5 stars|
|Best Sellers Rank|
|7 Mar. 2018|
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Empress 1908 Original Indigo Gin
Its named after the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, which opened in 1908. A historical landmark within the inner harbour.
The gin is a collaboration with the hotel. It incorporates Canadian water, 7 organic botanical and the hotels signature tea blend.
It is a nod to the importance of afternoon tea in Victoria and tea service at the hotel.
The first thing you notice is the vibrant indigo colour, and its naturally that hue as it uses the butterfly pea blossom.
We sampled it on its own and its very good, similar to a London Dry.
And then Peter said hed like to pour a gin and tonic, but I needed to watch him make it.
As the drink changes from a vibrant indigo to a soft pink you cant help but be impressed.
They did not intend to create a novelty drink, but its a chemical reaction with the butterfly pea flower.
Think of it as an adult science experiment, remember PH tests? In this case the butterfly pea flower changes colour with acid in this case the tonic.
I wished I wasnt traveling carry on so I could bring a bottle home. But Peter urged me to visit the newly renovated Q Bar at the Fairmont Empress.
The hotel renovated the bar before the distillery revealed its colour changing gin.
And yet the new decor with vibrant indigo and pink is completely appropriate.
Where To Buy Empress 1908 Gin
The key to this cocktail is Empress 1908 gin, its non-negotiable and cant be made with other gin brands. Empress 1908 Gin is a collaboration between Victoria Distillers the Fairmont Empress Hotel. Its famous because of the purple color, which comes from butterfly pea blossoms.
The hardest part about recreating this cocktail was finding edible flowers apparently, there is a shortage here in San Francisco??? Normally you can find them at places like Whole Foods
Because edible flowers can be hard to find depending on where you live, its ok if you skip them while making your cocktail if needed. They do add a fun pop of color and a delightful floral kick but the cocktail is still great without them!
Heres how to make a Q1908.
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Review: Empress 1908 Gin
First things first: That vibrant blue liquid is gin not violet liqueur, not sloe gin, not something from the planet Zebulon. Its a straight gin colored to be blue, thanks to the addition of butterfly pea blossoms to the distillate.
Why make a blue gin? The British Columbia-based distillery explains:
Victoria Distillers introduced Empress 1908 Gin in June 2017. Inspired by the tea and cocktail programs of the Fairmont Empress Hotel, Empress 1908 Gin is micro-distilled in small batch copper-pot stills and hand-crafted using eight signature botanicals: tea , juniper, rose, coriander seed, grapefruit peel, ginger root, cinnamon bark, and butterfly pea blossom. The butterfly pea blossom, which they discovered in one of the Empress Hotel tea blends, imbues the gin with distinctive earthy notes and a vivid indigo hue. Drinking Empress 1908 Gin is a one-of-a-kind cocktail experience. Enhanced with the simple addition of citrus or tonic, Empress 1908 Gin reveals a beautiful secret the transformation of its color from deep indigo to a soft pink.
All told its a fine gin, but the big story is of course the striking impact of the color. Use it to make the most unusual martini of all time, or, better yet, try it in a drink like the Aviation, where you can add a purple/pink hue without much creme de violette a liqueur which adds a heavily floral element that some drinkers find unpleasant. Report back!
Overall Empress 1908 Gin
Empress 1908 is a slightly contemporary style gin with a heady citrus, juniper and coriander accord that takes copious cues from gins 300 year history.
Despite the color, dont come to Empress 1908 Gin expecting something floral or violet-flavored. This is a mixing gin with a strong emphasis on showmanship.
Itll change colors, but at this price point theres better balanced gins and theres better quality color changing gins on the market.
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Shipping & Returns
- Pricing For 1-12 bottles, shipping is $5.99 for Auckland, $7.99 for the North Island and $9.99 for the South Island. For 13 or more bottles, shipping is $9.99 for Auckland, $14.99 for the North Island and $17.99 for the South Island.
- Timing We estimate delivery to be up to 3-4 working days for urban NZ addresses, and up to 5 working days for rural delivery.
- is available from our Albany warehouse shop.
- We do not ship outside of New Zealand.
- We are unable to deliver to PO Boxes. Delivery is via NZ Couriers.
You may return most new, unopened items within 30 days of delivery for a full refund. Well also pay the return shipping costs if the return is a result of our error .
You should expect to receive your refund within four weeks of giving your package to the return shipper, however, in many cases you will receive a refund more quickly. This time period includes the transit time for us to receive your return from the shipper , the time it takes us to process your return once we receive it , and the time it takes your bank to process our refund request .
If you need to return an item, simply login to your account, view the order using the Complete Orders link under the My Account menu and click the Return Item button. Well notify you via e-mail of your refund once weve received and processed the returned item.
Empress 1908 Gin Review
Beautiful purple in color with tea as a key botanical.
Review Empress 1908 Gin
Made in: British Columbia, Canada, by Victoria Distillers.
Method: Copper Pot still.
42.5% alcohol/85 proof
Botanicals 8 : Juniper, grapefruit peel, coriander, Empress Black tea blend, rose petal, cinnamon, ginger, butterfly pea blossoms.
Style: Modern gin
Designed to celebrate the Canadian city of Victoria the gin is named after the Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, which was built in 1908, as the name on the label says. The gin uses the hotels signature Empress black tea blend as one the key botanicals in the gin, and sports a regal blue-purple color which is imparted by the butterfly pea blossoms with which its distilled.
And that indigo color is perhaps the most defining characteristic of the gin. It makes for some very pretty cocktails without adding sweetness. The color is however transient, and the darker the color, likely the fresher the bottle is, as the blue fades with time.
Sipped on ice this gin has a very astringent nature. There is just a little too much heat, even after a couple of minutes on ice to recommend this as a sipping gin.
The nose is loaded with floral notes from the tea, rose petal, and maybe the pea blossoms with an essence of citrus and juniper mixed in. You can also smell some underlying dark berries and a touch of spice – with just faint traces of ginger, coriander, and cinnamon.
The oral texture of the gin is thin, and sharp.
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California Residents: Tap Here For Proposition 65 Warning
|WARNING: Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol|
|WARNING: Many food and beverage cans have linings containing bisphenol A , a chemical known to cause harm to the female reproductive system. Jar lids and bottle caps may also contain BPA. You can be exposed to BPA when you consume foods or beverages packaged in these containers. For more information, go to: www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/BPA|
Empress 1908 Gin 70 Cl
- Empress gin is traditional in flavour with forward juniper and citrus notes.
- Distilled in Canada
- Add tonic or citrus to change the colour of the gin from purple to a deep intense pink.
|Age Verification Required on Delivery: This product is not for sale to people under the age of 18. To confirm the recipient is over 18 years, valid photographic ID with a date of birth may be required upon delivery. The driver will input your year of birth into their device and may then require an ID check to complete the age verification process. The driver will not be able to access your information once the delivery is complete.See Details|
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Our 8 Signature Botanicals
Bespoke Tea Blend
The signature tea at the Empress Hotel, this blend is a selection of seasonal, quality teas from Assam, Kenya, South India, Ceylon, and China, created exclusively by the Metropolitan Tea Company. At once floral, fruity and oaky, it is one of the finest blends in the world.
Butterfly Tea Blossom
We chose this flower for its warm, herbal earthiness, and the softness it contributes to the texture. It plays a flavour role similar to that of angelica in other gins. This botanical is also responsible for the ginâs unique colour.
While lemon and orange are fairly traditional gin botanicals, we prefer grapefruit for its unique citrus flavour thatâs both slightly bitter and suggestively sweet. It provides an aromatic, lively bright note that pairs very well with tonic.
The classic taste found in most gins, it provides a complex flavour with notes of pine and citrus. And while London Dry Gins like a big juniper burst, our Pacific Northwest style gin uses a subtle varietal that isnât too pushy, and balances nicely with the other less traditional botanicals.
Empress 1908 Indigo Gin
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