Drinking Like Royalty
If you haven’t been to Victoria, BC Canada it’s a magical sort of port city that takes you back in time. From the enchanting Fairmont Empress Hotel (famous for its high tea) to Buchart Gardens (a converted quarry) to the stunning ocean views and Orca whales you can see in the summer. It’s simply worth a stop if you find yourself in the Pacific Northwest.
The Victoria Distillers Empress 1908 Gin is made locally in the heart of the city. The 1908 denotes the year the Famous Empress Hotel opened. It includes botanicals like grapefruit and coriander as well as ginger, rose petal, the empress proprietary tea blend, and of course butterfly pea flower giving it the deep indigo hue.
If you aren’t familiar with the delicate butterfly pea flower. It is one of the few “found in nature” blue cocktail ingredients. You can buy the tea (dried whole flowers) or buy it in an extract from companies like Wild Hisbiscus Company. Both are also available on Amazon.
I paired the gin with another northwest favorite of mine, Clear Creek Pear Brandy. Clear Creek makes a great pear brandy that can certainly be enjoyed neat but really holds it’s own in a cocktail as well.
I created a Starkrimson Pear, cardamom and clove syrup. Starkcrimson Pears are a variety of red Bartlet pear with a mild flavor and stunning deep red color. They are as pretty as they are tasty. I only added a small amount of clove and cardamom to ensure they didn’t take over.
I also added just a splash of a Lychee Liqueur to keep it bright and a bit floral. And of course I had to serve it in a glass teacup in honor of High Tea.
The North Star
2 oz Victoria Distillers Empress 1908 Gin
.5 oz Lychee Liqueur
.5 oz Clear Creek Pear Brandy
.75 oz Spiced Starkrimson Pear Syrup
Stir all the ingredients over ice until chilled, serve in a pretty teacup or coupe if you want to show off the gorgeous color.