“The Lady Bridgerton” Empress Gin Cocktail

“The Lady Bridgerton” Empress Gin Cocktail

The Lady Bridgerton is an Empress gin cocktail designed, taking a liberty or two, to celebrate the success of the Bridgerton series. If you have been hiding under a rock for the last year, you might have missed the phenomenon that is Bridgerton, the Netflix series based off of the series of historical romance novels written by Julia Quinn.

(p.s. bring back the Duke!)

Disclosure: I received two bottles of Empress 1908 gin and financial compensation to create an Instagram post and photo of an Empress gin cocktail. Aside from the Notes about Empress 1908 gin (below), the naming of The Lady Bridgerton and all other content in this post are my own. Per my pledge, the income from this post will be donated to a local non-profit.

The inspiration and some history

I developed this Empress gin cocktail to refer back to the floral flavors in the Earl Grey and lavender cake that has been a favorite on this blog since I baked it last month (pic). The deep purple color in the gin is just a bonus.

a slice of Earl Grey lavender cake with frosting piped into stars as viewed from the top

The name is a play off of the Earl Grey tea in the cocktail, although admittedly the tea (mid-1800s) post-dates the Regency period (officially 1811 to 1820) when Bridgerton is set. The other ingredients in this cocktail (gin, lavender, and lemon) were all widely available during the time.

  • Gin, in particular, has a fascinating history in the UK in the 1700s. Gin production was initially encouraged to dissuade the consumption of French brandy. But it seems that there was a bit too much encouragement, resulting in the so-called Gin Craze and repeated attempts at legislation to control the production and consumption of gin.
  • Despite the name, lavender (i.e. English lavender) is not native to Britain but has been cultivated, quite well in fact, for centuries.
  • Lemons have also been imported and available in Britain for over 500 years.

Notes about this gin from the Empress 1908 gin folks

  • Empress 1908 gin is a hand-crafted spirit from Victoria Distillers in British Columbia, Canada.
  • It’s inspired by the renowned tea and cocktail programs of the iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria.
  • Empress 1908 is micro-distilled in small batch copper-pot stills using eight botanicals: juniper, rose, coriander seed, grapefruit peel, ginger root, cinnamon bark, butterfly pea blossoms and the Fairmont Empress Blend Tea.
  • The butterfly pea blossom imparts subtle earthy notes and an all-natural indigo hue.
  • With the addition of citrus or tonic, Empress 1908 turns a delicate soft pink.

FAQs about this Empress gin cocktail

Why does Empress 1908 gin change color when citrus or tonic is added?

Butterfly pea flowers have anthocyanins, which, as I learned when I wrote this post for a rainbow poke bowl with red (purple) cabbage, change colors when you vary the pH. At higher (more basic) pH, these compounds produce a purple color. At a lower (more acidic) pH, they are more red. So adding lemon juice to Empress 1908 turns it pink because lemon juice has a very low pH (2.0) due to the citric acid. Tonic water, which is a sweetened combination of citric acid and quinine, also has a similar result and similarly low pH (2.5).

Is this a “girl drink”?

I believe the correct response to that is, “Do you drink it with your genitals?”

Can I drink this over ice?

Yes, that’s the way mr. uglyduckling preferred this cocktail. Simply pour the mixture over a large ice cube (i.e. rocks ice) in a lowball glass.

Is there a right way or wrong way to shake a cocktail?

No, go ahead and shake to whatever song you like. But there a few things you shouldn’t do.

Can I put more emphasis on the flavors of the Earl Grey tea?

Yes. If you love Earl Grey tea, you can directly infuse the gin with a tea bag or free tea in a teaball – I would start with 20 minutes. Just be sure to remove the tea bag before you add the gin to the cocktail shaker!

Could I make the lavender and Earl Grey simple syrup separately?

Yes. If you already have lavender simple syrup in your refrigerator, you can make this drink by brewing a strong cup of Earl Grey tea and chilling a small amount. Add 1 ounce lavender simple syrup and 1/2 ounce (1 tbsp) cold Earl Grey tea to the cocktail shaker.

How long can I store the simple syrup?

The Earl Grey and lavender simple syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.

“The Lady Bridgerton” Empress Gin Cocktail

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Author uglyducklingbakery

Ingredients

Earl Grey and lavender simple syrup

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp culinary lavender blossoms
  • 1 teabag Earl Grey tea caffeinated or decaffeinated

"The Lady Bridgerton"

  • 2 oz Empress 1908 gin
  • 1 oz Earl Grey and lavender simple syrup
  • ½ oz lemon juice

Instructions

Earl Grey and lavender simple syrup

  • In a small pot, bring the water and granulated sugar to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved into solution, turn off the heat.
  • Add the 1 tbsp of lavender plus an Earl Grey tea bag or tea in a tea ball and steep for 30 minutes.
  • Pour the syrup through a fine mesh sieve and let cool.

"The Lady Bridgerton"

  • Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake, and strain into a coupe or similar glass. Garnish with lavender sprigs or a slice of lemon.

What next?

If you make The Lady Bridgerton or want to see more Bridgerton cocktails, please comment and/or share a pic!

Check out the uglyducklingbakery beverage archives for other tasty cocktails like the lavender gimlet, elderflower Tom Collins, or jalapeno raspberry bramble.

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An Earl Grey and lavender Empress gin cocktail on a tray with a bottle of Empress 1908 gin and lavender sprigs, set on a path amongst a lavender bush


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