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An Iconic Victoria Hotel + The Year It Was Built = Where The Name Comes From
Nestled in the southern part of Vancouver Island, just outside of Victoria, this indigo gin celebrates the heritage of the island on which it was born.
In 1908, the famous Empress Hotel was built in Victoria, British Columbia. An iconic part of the downtown Victoria skyline, the Empress Hotel is a regal building that stands at the foot of the Inner Harbour.
The reason the Empress Hotel and Victoria Distillers are such good friends?
When Victoria Gin launched in 2007, they did so straight from the Empress Hotels lobby, and theyve been a fixture in the Empress Hotels bar program ever since.
So it seemed fitting that a decade after Victoria Gins launch, the distillery was looking to expand its portfolio while the Empress Hotel was going through a huge $60M restoration. Naturally it was the perfect time for the two to join forces and create a badass gin.
Empress Blackberry Gin Fizz Recipe
Empress Blackberry Gin Fizz
Since quarantine, Ive been making lots of cocktails and sharing them on . My favorite spirit of choice lately is Empress 1908 Gin. I discovered Empress 1908 Gin a few months ago when my friend Katie invited me to take a charcuterie board class. That was so much fun! They provided cocktails at the event and all the cocktails were made with Empress 1908 Gin only. I was immediately blow away. It is a hand-crafted spirit from Victoria distillers in British Columbia, Canada. This is a botanical infused gin, and it has a natural purple hue. I love the color! In my opinion, it just makes your drink look a little bit more fun!
This gin is inspired by the renowned tea and cocktail programs of the iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria. Doesnt it sound so regal?! And sometimes the color changes depending on what is being put into the drink.
This gin is unique because of its flavor. As I mentioned earlier, it is botanical infused. It includes butterfly pea blossom, fairmont empress tea, juniper, grapefruit peel, coriander seed, cinnamon bark, rose petal, and ginger root. Trust me, it is delicious! You should be able to find Empress 1908 Gin at your local liquor store. If youre in Chicago, they definitely have it at Binnys! You can also purchase it online.
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Whiskey: Bird Dog Chocolate FlavoredBird Dogs flavored whiskeys begin with Kentucky bourbon made from corn, malted barley, and rye. This one is infused with chocolates.Size: 750mLProof: 80 Origin: United StatesDistillery: Western SpiritsDetailed DescriptionBird Dog Chocolate Flavored Whiskey exudes a luscious, rich milk chocola
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Empress Blackberry Gin Fizz
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What Is Empress 1908 Gin
One of the most impressive of these new gin distillers comes from Victoria, BC, Canada. Empress 1908 Gin is a distinctive deep indigo blue in the bottle a natural colorant derived from butterfly pea flower. It started out as a a collaboration between Victoria Distillers and the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, quickly taking the cocktail scene by storm.
Combined with traditional botanicals like juniper and citrus, as well as some unusual additions like ginger, grapefruit peel and tea, Empress is lovely and smooth on its own. But the magic really happens when you blend it with some acid like tonic, or a squeeze of fresh citrus: the indigo color shifts from blue to pinks, creating a gorgeous palette perfect for spring cocktails.
Empress 1908 Indigo Gin
Offer valid on any online order over $150 . Valid for shipping anywhere within Washington only. Not valid when shipping to any other state. Order arrives within 3-5 business days. Excludes Gift Cards.
Offer valid on any online order over $150 . Valid for shipping anywhere within Arizona only. Not valid when shipping to any other state. Order arrives within 3-5 business days. Excludes Gift Cards.
Offer valid on any online order over $150 . Valid for shipping anywhere within California only. Not valid when shipping to any other state. Order arrives within 3-5 business days. Excludes Gift Cards.
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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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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.
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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!
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.
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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.
Shop Empress Buy Empress Online
Empress 1908 Gin delights the senses with its balanced citrus-and-spice palette, brilliant colour, light floral fragrance and soft texture. Handcrafted in small batch copper-pot stills, Empress 1908 uses eight signature botanicals, including juniper, grapefruit peel, rose petal, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, and a bespoke blend of tea.
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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!
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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Theres A Subtle Nod To India Heres Why
There are two very uncommon ingredients in Empress Gin and thats 1) cinnamon and 2) ginger. WTF? Cinnamon and ginger in a gin!
Between the years 1876 and 1948, British queens and kings were called Empress and Emperor of India, respectively. Queen Victoria was the first Empress of India, and so Victoria Distillers wanted to include a subtle nod with popular Indian spices, ginger and cinnamon.
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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|
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Free Delivery On Mainland Uk Orders Over 100
We are pleased to offer our mainland UK customers free or discounted delivery on orders over £100. Free delivery:
- is only valid for orders being delivered to Mainland UK
- only applies to orders of £100 or more once all discounts and promotional codes have been applied
- will automatically be applied at the checkout
- is offered on orders up to 60kg . Orders over 60kg will benefit from discounted delivery your first four 15kg parcels will be delivered free!
to view our full delivery information and prices
Give The Gift Of Cocktails This Holiday Season
Introducing Empress 1908s 2021 Gift Guide for cocktail enthusiasts, mixology experts, foodie friends & more, weve pulled together a selection of our very favourite products to make gifting easy this year!
Start by picking up a bottle of Empress 1908 Gin, the perfect present for your loved ones, or to treat yourself. Discover retail locations near you using our store finder, or click here to shop online, and read on for more ideas that pair perfectly with Empress 1908!
For the home bartender
Did your loved one take up home bartending this year? The first step to delicious drinks is making sure youve got the right tools in hand. Shop our premium copper barware here and learn more about the purpose of each piece in our barware blog post!
Give the gift of a cocktail book that looks just as good as the recipes inside taste. From the spectacular layered Setting Sail for Victoria to the elegant & understated Fly Away with Me, Natalie Migliarini and James Stevensons book, Beautiful Booze has a cocktail for every palate. To get a sneak peek of what youre in for, visit their stunning recipe blog, or check out Natalies !
The easiest way to dress up a drink? Elevated glassware! Discover our glassware essentials here, or shop unique & classic styles from our friends at Viski Craft. Were big fans of their Amaro Spritz glasses, perfect for Empress & Tonics and our Winterberry Soda.
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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.