CONFESSION: Historically, I’m not a lover of gin. In fact, I’m pretty sure my first experiences with gin include pre-mixed gin and juice. I know what you’re thinking and yes, I’m sure this contributed to my adversarial relationship with gin. At the time though, it definitely contributed to my connection with Snoop Dogg so I still count it a win.
Here’s where being one of those weird people who keep trying things they don’t like pays off.. I’ve revisited gin many times and I have been fortunate enough to come across some really great gin-based cocktails. In fact, one of my summer time favs is a French 75 and I “discovered” it because I kept trying gin. Who knew the phrase “try and try again” applied to alcohol too?
With that being said, I’ve never had a “go-to” gin in my home bar. I think I may have found one though! I recently was able to attend a launch event here in Chicago for Empress 1908 Indigo Gin being held by Romano Beverage and was immediately taken in…on sight!
First things first since you may have missed this in the name. The gin is indigo. Yes, as in blue. No need to go back and read that again. You read it right the first time. The GIN IS BLUE; but wait, there’s more! (If you didn’t just read that in your infomercial voice, what are you doing with your life?) When you add citrus or tonic to it, the color changes to a soft-pink. It sounds gimmicky, but it didn’t come across that way at all. According to the Empress website, the indigo color comes from butterfly pea blossoms and doesn’t last forever. So what you’re seeing isn’t an unnatural science project created in a lab. The Empress 1908 Gin is actually all-natural and gluten-free. (http://www.empressgin.com/the-gin/) Bummer that the color doesn’t last forever, because it is beautiful! I love that the label is a minimalistic as possible to let all of that indigo hue shine through.
I’m pretty sure we had all of the cocktails being offered, including having the Empress 1908 neat. Of the night, my favorite cocktail was the Empress Gimlet. The balance of gin and citrus was perfect. The Hard Sell was so aptly named, but we tried it anyway! If anyone can make Malört (yes, that Malört) taste great, I’d be surprised. Unfortunately the night did not yield surprises for me, lol. The Malört totally overpowered the drink, but I applaud the effort and salute to Chicago.
So what does a girl who is picky about gin cocktails make with her bottle of Empress 1908 Gin? Her take on her fav gin cocktail of course! I present to you my take of the Empress 75. Let’s call it the Empress 75x lol. It’s basically the Empress 75 with the addition of a bit of elderflower liqueur (I used St-Germain). So yum! It’s pretty much a perfect mimosa sub for brunch. Get into it!
This light cocktail has a pop of citrus and a floral undertone that is sure to win you over! The recipe is that of the basic Empress 75 to which I add a dash of elderflower liqueur.
- 1.5 oz Empress 1908 Gin
- .75 oz Fresh lemon juice
- .5 oz Simple syrup (to make this, dissolve sugar in warm water at 1:1 ratio; chill)
- .5 oz Elderflower liqueur
- Sparkling wine
- 1 Lemon (for garnish)
Add the first four ingredients to your shaker with ice. Shake until chilled. Double strain into a flute. Top with sparkling wine, and add your lemon twist.
Adapted from Empress 1908 Gin
If you try Empress 1908 while you’re out in these Chicago (or global) streets, or if you grab a bottle for your bar, be sure to share your creations with me! Need ideas for cocktails? Check out the Empress website for recipes from the brand, some of which were offered at the event. The Empress of Aviation was another favorite of the evening. http://www.empressgin.com/category/cocktails/.
Now where are my gin lovers? Comment below and share your fav gin cocktail! What should I make next with the lovely Empress 1908 gin?