3 Simple Ways to Elevate Your Cocktails at Home

Upgrade your sips with easy-to-prep ingredients!

Creating complex cocktails doesn’t have to be complicated. Sure, it may be nice to have an extensive home bar or fancy tools, but even a few minor tweaks to a classic recipe can result in a truly unique and delicious final product! We’re going to show you three easy techniques to transform your sippable creations.

Second photo: Blue Martinez by @jfdesfosses
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  1. Add a touch of salt!
  2. Be bold with bitters!
  3. Customize your ice!

1. Add a touch of salt! 💥

As our good friend @thirstywhale_ says, incorporating a little bit of salt to your cocktail will really make it POP! After all, we add it to food and sweets – why not do the same here? Of course, the goal isn’t to make your drink salty – it’s more to let certain ingredients in your cocktail shine by amplifying citrus or subtle botanicals.

You can do this by simply adding a pinch of salt when you stir or shake your drink, but we recommend making a 20% saline solution and adding a couple drops at a time for the sake of consistency. Please note that since it’s a solution, the salt percentage is relative to the full weight, not just a fraction of water. Don’t worry, though— it’s very easy to make at home!

20% Saline Solution
  • 80 g Water
  • 20 g Salt

Combine water and salt in a container and mix until dissolved. Pour into a dropper bottle and add a couple drops to each cocktail (or to taste).

Try this in @thirstywhale_‘s elevated Empress Gin Sour!
  • 2 oz Empress 1908 Elderflower Rose Gin
  • ¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ¾ oz Simple Syrup
  • 1 dash Orange Bitters
  • 1 Egg White
  • 2 drops Saline
  • Lemon Twist, for garnish

Add lemon juice, simple syrup, saline, Empress 1908 Elderflower Rose Gin, orange bitters, and egg white to a cocktail shaker. Dry shake (without ice) for approximately 10 seconds. Add ice, and shake again until chilled. Double strain into a chilled coupe. Express a lemon twist, and garnish. Enjoy!

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2. Be bold with bitters! 💧

Similar to salt, bitters are often known as the “seasoning of the mixology world.” A dash or two can add new life to a cocktail. Whether your bitters of choice bridge flavours together or contribute their own subtle nuance, try them out in both shaken and stirred recipes!

With the Empress 1908 Gin family, we especially enjoy citrusy or spiced options to elevate our botanical recipes: grapefruit and orange are obvious choices for Empress Indigo and Elderflower Rose Gin respectively, as well as the tried and true Angostura! No need to limit yourself, though – get experimental with fruity, herbal, vegetal, nutty, and more.

The Empress Fitzgerald by @likeablecocktails is the perfect template to play with bitters!
  • 2 oz Empress 1908 Indigo Gin
  • 1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ¾ oz Simple Syrup
  • 2-3 dashes Aromatic Bitters

Shake all ingredients over ice to chill and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with expressed lemon twist and enjoy!

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3. Customize your ice! 🧊

We all know ice keeps your drink cold and provides some dilution to help open up the flavour profile. What if we took advantage of the melting properties to create a unique sipping experience?

One way we like to have fun with ice is by simply by freezing a different type of liquid other than water in our ice molds. Try options like fruit juices, tea, or even coffee to complement the base cocktail!

You can also embed your ice cubes with things like fruits, herbs, or edible flowers. Here, you’ll want to freeze in two stages: once by filling halfway with water and your ingredient of choice followed by adding the rest of the ice mold after the initial freeze. This will allow you to achieve that suspended look that’s absolutely stunning!

Essentially, as the ice melts, more of the flavours seep into your cocktail, allowing for an evolving and more complex drink. The first sip won’t taste the same as the last!

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Have we convinced you that elevating your cocktails doesn’t have to be complicated nor costly? At the end of the day, it’s all about the fine details and how they add up to create something spectacular. We hope you give these techniques a try the next time you make a cocktail and share your creation with us with the hashtag #empressgin!

For more cocktail inspiration, you know where to look: check out our Instagram, Cocktail Page, or Blog!

Sip responsibly!

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