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The Lady Bridgerton: an 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. It’s a an Empress gin sour made with a classic sour formula using Empress 1908 gin, lemon juice, and a homemade Earl Grey and lavender simple syrup.

If you have been hiding under a rock for the last year and change, you might have missed the phenomenon that is Bridgerton, the Netflix series based off of the series of historical romance novels written by my friend Julia Quinn. Bring back the Duke!

Sip this Empress Gin cocktail neat while binge watching Netflix in your living room. Or serve it on the rocks as a cooling cocktail in the hottest heat of summer.

a purple cocktail on a tray with a purple napkin and several lavender sprigs

Recipe inspiration

I developed this purple Empress gin cocktail to refer back to the color and floral flavors in this Earl Grey lavender cake. That cake remains one of the most popular recipes on the blog.

a slice of Earl Grey lavender cake with frosting piped into stars.

The name is a play off of the Earl Grey tea in the cocktail, although admittedly the tea 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 there for centuries.
  • Lemons have also been imported and available in Britain for over 500 years.

About Empress 1908 gin

Empress 1908 gin is made by Victoria Distillers in British Columbia, just north of us here in Seattle. Empress 1908 is a botanical gin made with juniper, rose, coriander, grapefruit, ginger, cinnamon bark, and butterfly pea flowers.

Tip from the wise quacker: the purple color of Empress gin is due to pigments in the butterfly pea flowers called anthocyanins. When you lower the pH with an acid like the citric acid in lemon juice, the pigment changes to pink. If you raise the pH to make it more basic, it turns blue.

Tips and tricks

The Lady Bridgerton is an Empress gin sour, made a little bit sweeter than the classic sour proportions. The deep purple color is just a beautiful bonus from the Empress 1908 gin.

The Earl Grey and lavender simple syrup is easy to make with Earl Grey tea and culinary lavender. You can read more about making this and other simple syrup recipes.

To make the cocktail, combine the Empress gin, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and cooled simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with a half cup of ice. Shake vigorously for about 10 to 15 seconds, and double strain into a chilled coupe.

Variations and substitutions

  • Serve this sour over ice. Shake in your shaker and pour the cocktail over a large ice cube in a lowball glass.
  • Substitute any botanical-forward gin for the Empress 1908 gin. You just won’t have a purple gin cocktail unless you add butterfly pea flower powder.
  • If you love Earl Grey tea, make Earl Grey-infused gin. Add an Earl Grey tea bag or free tea in a teaball to the gin. Start out with just 20 to 30 minutes. And be sure to remove the tea bag before you add the gin to the cocktail shaker!
  • If you happen to 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 a half ounce (1 tablespoon) of cold Earl Grey tea to the cocktail shaker.

Make it a mocktail

You can transform most cocktails, especially sours, into non alcoholic beverages. To make this Empress gin cocktail a mocktail, I added juniper berries and butterfly pea flower powder to the simple syrup. Juniper is the primary flavor in gin, and the butterfly pea flower powder will give you a purple gin mocktail.

To make this Empress gin mocktail something other than a sweetened lemonade, I’ve added tonic water. Tonic water also slightly post-dates the Regency period, but the touch of bitterness gives this Empress mocktail the depth that you expect from an adult beverage.

First, make a simple syrup with one half-cup of water, one half-cup of sugar, a tablespoon of juniper berries and culinary lavender, teaspoon of butterfly pea flower powder, and an Earl Grey tea bag. Combine one ounce of the cooled syrup with one ounce of lemon juice. Shake and add to a highball glass with crushed ice. Top with tonic water and garnish with a lemon slice.

purple cocktail in highball glass garnished with lemon, surrounded by lavender.

Other Empress gin cocktails

If you love purple gin cocktails, try some other Empress gin cocktail recipes like:

Storage

Like all simple syrups, you can store the Earl Grey and lavender simple syrup in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks.

FAQs

What is a botanical gin?

All gins are made with juniper. Some types of gins, like London dry gin, have specific definitions as to how they’re made and what botanicals can be used.

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

No, there’s not a right way. But there a few things you shouldn’t do.

Related recipes

Check out the uglyducklingbakery beverage archives for other delicious recipes like a creamy espresso martini with Baileys or other sours like this Aperol sour or Frangelico sour.

If you love Earl Grey tea, you should also try my Earl Grey scones.

The Lady Bridgerton Empress Gin Cocktail

5 from 1 vote
Category: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 1 cocktail
Calories: 210kcal
The Lady Bridgerton is an Empress gIn sour cocktail made with Empress 1908 gin, lemon juice, and a lavender and Earl Grey simple syrup.
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Earl Grey and lavender simple syrup

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

"The Lady Bridgerton" Empress Gin Cocktail

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

Instructions

Earl Grey and lavender simple syrup

  • Add the water and granulated sugar to a small pot and heat over low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved into solution, turn off the heat.
    ½ cup granulated sugar, ½ cup water
  • Add the 1 tablespoon of lavender plus an Earl Grey tea bag or tea in a tea ball and steep for 30 minutes.
    1 tablespoon culinary lavender blossoms, 1 teabag Earl Grey tea
  • Pour the syrup through a fine mesh sieve and let cool.

The Lady Bridgerton Empress Gin Cocktail

  • Add the gin, 1 ounce of the Earl Grey and lavender simple syrup, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake, and double strain into a coupe or similar glass. Garnish with lavender sprigs or a slice of lemon.
    2 ounce Empress 1908 gin, ½ ounce lemon juice, 1 ounce Earl Grey and lavender simple syrup

Notes

Variation: make this cocktail using Earl Grey-infused gin by steeping your gin with a tea bag or two or free tea in a tea ball.

Nutrition

Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 17mg | Potassium: 34mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg
Love this recipe?Mention @Uglyducklingbakery or tag #uglyducklingbakery!

This empress gin cocktail recipe was originally posted on June 18, 2021 in association with a sponsored Instagram post. It was most recently adapted on January 29, 2023.

What’s next

If you love this Empress gin cocktail or want to see more Bridgerton cocktails, please leave a rating or comment here.

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bottle and purple Empress gin cocktail on a mirrored tray with lavender sprigs.

Disclosure: I received two bottles of Empress 1908 gin and financial compensation to create an Instagram post and photo of an Empress gin cocktail in 2021. The naming of The Lady Bridgerton and all other content in this post are my own. Per my pledge, the income from this post has been donated to a local non-profit.

2 Comments

    1. Lol. Thanks, so much, Paul. And thank your lovely wife for giving me the inspiration (even if she couldn’t bring back the Duke).

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