These cocktails made with Empress Gin look super impressive thanks to the gin’s beautiful indigo color, but they couldn’t be easier to make! From color changing cocktails to fun riffs on classic drinks, all of these Empress Gin cocktail recipes require 6 ingredients or less and are absolutely gorgeous in a glass.
If you’re looking for an easy cocktail that will truly impress your friends, you need to get a bottle of Empress Gin!
I came across Empress Gin on a trip to Vancouver a few years back, and fell completely in love. Partially because it tastes great, but also because it can elevate a cocktail from ordinary to a show-stopper without any extra effort.
What Is Empress Gin?
Empress Gin, also known as Empress 1908 Gin, is a craft Canadian gin made by Victoria Distillers that launched in 2017. It’s micro-distilled in small batches, sits at 42.5% ABV, and is made with the following eight natural botanicals:
Empress Hotel black tea blend
Butterfly pea blossom
The recipe for Empress Gin was inspired by and is a collaboration with the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, where they serve a signature black tea blend at their famous afternoon tea service. Empress Gin uses this same handpicked tea blend, which is a big part of what gives the gin its delicate, unique flavor.
Taste-wise, Empress Gin is very similar to a classic London Dry gin but with some modern finesse. So although its color makes it looks like a liquid jolly rancher, it is NOT sweet. Instead, it’s super dry with notes of pine, citrus, and flowers.
Empress Gin is best known for its bright indigo color, which is derived from the butterfly pea blossom herb.
Butterfly pea blossom is an herb primarily grown in Southeast Asia and used in teas. However, it’s become increasingly popular in North America, and you’ll find it in craft drinks and foods all over. I’ve personally had it in wine and beer, and it always adds great floral flavors and a beautiful color!
Aside from its gorgeous hue, it has another even more magical quality: it can change color based on pH levels. For example, adding an acid like lemon to Empress Gin will turn it a beautiful reddish pink color.
Many assume butterfly pea flower makes drinks sweet due to its bright cotton candy color, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In Empress Gin, the butterfly pea blossom adds earthy and herbal notes, and is actually very mild in flavor overall.
What You Can Mix With Empress Gin
Ultimately, Empress Gin isn’t much different from a typical gin in terms of taste. So you can mix it with anything that you would normally mix with gin!
That said, it’s fun to enhance and/or maintain Empress Gin’s beautiful color with your mixers, and that’s something to keep in mind. For example, clear mixers and purple garnishes are always a good choice, and I would avoid darker mixers like Coke.
Some of the more popular mixers to use with Empress Gin are the following:
This is not an exhaustive list by any means — for more mixers and specific recipes for Empress Gin, read on!
This recipe is just as simple as a classic G&T, but it uses elderflower tonic instead of regular tonic water. My favorite brand of elderflower tonic (and any tonic) is Fever Tree, but you can find elderflower tonic at most grocery stores or liqueur stores.
Compared to a classic G&T, this cocktail will be a little sweeter and more floral thanks to the elderflower.
Have you ever seen a more beautiful martini!? People would assume there are all sorts of fancy ingredients in this cocktail, but it's a classic martini with only three ingredients: Empress Gin, sweet vermouth, and orange bitters.
Top it off with a candied orange peel for a garnish that perfectly contrasts the drink's indigo color!
Negronis are typically made with gin, vermouth, and Campari, and are bright red in color thanks to the Campari.
In this recipe though, you use a clear Italian bitter liqueur called Luxardo Bitter Bianco instead of Campari in order to preserve the beautiful color of the Empress Gin. Super clever and just as tasty and easy as a classic Negroni!
The colors of this drink are beyond dreamy and remind me so much of a unicorn (I've clearly been spending too much time with my niece 😂)! Ingredients are Empress Gin, Aperol, white rum, Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice.
To make it, you shake all the ingredients up and pour over ice. Then you slowly pour a layer of the Bloody Shiraz Gin, followed by a layer of Empress Gin to get the gorgeous sunset effect. Be careful with this one: it's SUPER boozy and dangerously drinkable!
This cocktail is a riff on a Sidecar, which is typically made with cognac, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and served with a sugar rim.
Since this version uses gin instead of cognac, it's called a Chelsea Sidecar. The recipe also substitutes orange liqueur for passion fruit liqueur (like Alize Gold Passion Fruit) to give the drink a more tropical flair and reddish hue.
Typically, Gimlets are made with just gin and lime cordial. It's one of the best easy classic cocktails, and I love this twist on it! Ingredients are Empress Gin, lime juice, simple syrup, and lychee juice.
So you still get the notes of lime and sweetness that you would from a classic Gimlet, along with fruity and floral flavors from the lychee juice.
This recipe comes right from Empress Gin's website, so you know it's going to be good! The colors and flavors are SO perfect for the holidays, and it's beyond easy to make in a big batch since it's only 3 ingredients plus garnishes.
You'll need Empress Gin, cranberry juice, and sparkling wine. Garnish with cranberries and rosemary sprigs for a super simple but elegant & festive holiday punch!
It's hard to go wrong with a mojito, and I love the flavors and colors in this recipe! It follows a standard mojito recipe for the most part, but uses Empress Gin for color and muddles some blueberries along with the mint.
The bright green mint and dark blueberries complement the color of the gin like a dream and add wonderful aromatics!
Which of these Empress Gin cocktail recipes caught your eye?? Trick question: they’re all absolutely stunning and eye-catching in their own right!
I personally can’t wait to make the Duchess Punch for the holidays since it’s beyond easy but will make a beautiful centerpiece!
PS: if you have an easy peasy Empress Gin cocktail I didn’t mention here and should try, let me know in the comment section below 🙂