Homemade is Better—The Empress Gin and Tonic

Gin and tonic is undoubtedly an easy enough drink to make, and I doubt we need a recipe to make one.  This simple recipe requires only three ingredients: One ounce of gin, one slice of lime, and five ounces of soda.  But this article is more to be a review of a particular type of gin: Empress Gin.

Empress 1908 got its name from the Empress Hotel in Victoria.  The gin was inspired by their handcrafted tea (Empress 1908 Gin, 2022).  Most gin I’ve seen is clear, but Empress Gin is a beautiful shade of indigo.  To achieve this colour, the distillery uses butterfly pea blossoms.  The gin is smooth with notes of a typical dry gin and some citrus.  They use traditional ingredients in their gin, such as juniper berries, coriander and rose petals.  They also add non-traditional ingredients like butterfly pea blossom, empress tea, grapefruit peels, cinnamon, and ginger root.  These flavours come together to make a uniquely colourful and smooth spirit.

The first time I tried this gin was at home with my spouse during COVID restrictions.  I went to the local liquor store and grabbed a few bottles of various items: some wine, whiskey, beer, and Empress 1908.  I remember making the first G&T with it.  The colour of the gin turned from indigo to a light purple.  The first sip had me sold again.  I was already intrigued by the colour, but the taste was fascinating.  I will also admit that this gin is moderately priced in the places I’ve seen it thus far, but it is not cheap.  Be prepared to spend a little more on this one.  You’ll enjoy it, though!

Homemade is Better Gin and Tonic


1 oz Empress 1908 gin
5 oz tonic water
One slice of lime

  • Grab a cocktail glass (it must be at least a five-ounce glass).
  • Add a few ice cubes.
  • Pour in the gin.
  • Add the tonic.
  • Garnish with lime.
  • Enjoy!
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