You’ve probably heard of green beer for St. Patrick’s Day and maybe you’ve added some food coloring to a drink in order to make a festive cocktail. Perhaps you’ve even seen some fancy drinks that change color as you sip them.
As gorgeous as all of that is, there’s an even easier way to make colorful cocktails that you may not know about. You can use liquor that’s already so colorful that simply pouring it over ice creates a work of art.
For gin fans, it doesn’t get more colorful than Empress 1908, a deep indigo-hued gin that turns a simple gin on the rocks dark purple, a gin and tonic lilac and, depending what else you mix with it, multiple shades of pink or blue.
Empress 1908 gin was inspired by the tea service at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia. It was created by taking the classic indigo-colored Empress tea and coupling it with eight botanicals, like rose petal, butterfly pea blossom and grapefruit peel.
Don’t let its pretty color fool you into thinking this gin packs a light punch, as its alcohol content is 42.5% alcohol by volume or 85 proof.
According to Empress, the gin is micro-distilled in small batch copper-pot stills and made with all-natural ingredients and no artificial colors or stabilizers. That does mean, however, that while the flavor will last forever, the indigo hue will not. So, Empress 1908 recommends you finish the bottle within a year of purchase and store it in a cool, dark place to keep it looking vibrant.
You can purchase Empress 1908 at liquor stores in 26 states or online nationwide from a variety of websites, including Bowery and Vine. Keep in mind that some states do not allow the purchase of alcohol online, so be sure you’re allowed to order where you live.
Take a look at three beautiful cocktails you can make with just a few ingredients, including the Empress & Tonic, the Windsor Garden and the Classic Blue, the latter of which uses blue tea to change the color of the gin.
EMPRESS & TONIC
- 2 ounces Empress 1908 gin
- 3 ounces premium tonic water
- grapefruit slice
Fill a rocks glass with fresh ice.
Add gin and serve with tonic on the side.
Garnish with slice of grapefruit.
- 2 ounces Empress 1908 gin
- 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- basil, thyme and mint leaves
- sprig of rosemary (for garnish)
Shake all ingredients on ice.
Strain into a stemless wine glass with ice.
Garnish with sprig of rosemary.
- 1 3/4 ounces Empress 1908 gin
- 1/3 ounce Giffard Pamplemousse liqueur
- 1/3 ounce dry vermouth
- 1/3 ounce Tealeaves Classic Blue tea
- lemon peel
- grapefruit peel or blueberries (for garnish)
Stir all ingredients on ice.
Strain into a chilled glass.
Express the lemon peel over cocktail.
Garnish with grapefruit peel or blueberries.
If you’re not a gin fan, but still want a pretty purple cocktail, The Bitter Truth makes Violet Liqueur that’s described as “slightly sweet and very flowery,” while “the violet aroma is very subdued and natural.”
As you can see below, it comes in an attractive bottle and has a bold purple hue. Its alcohol content is 22% alcohol by volume or 44 proof.
The Bitter Truth offers a free cocktail recipe guide online that includes colorful twists on classics like the Violet Gimlet and Violet Julep.
Moving on to other colors, New Amsterdam makes a pink lemonade-flavored vodka called Pink Whitney that is, in fact, pink! It packs 30% alcohol by volume.
You can pour this colorful spirit right over ice for a pink lemonade vodka on the rocks or top it off with club soda or lemon-lime soda and it will still be pink.
Will you be picking up some Empress 1908 and making some stunningly colorful cocktails?