No matter what I'm doing in Victoria, I somehow manage to make a stop at The Fairmont Empress Hotel's Bengal Lounge. Not only do I love this iconic bar, it serves Victoria Gin. How many cities can boast they have their very own spirt(s) named after them?
Handmade in small batches from a wood-fired still on Vancouver Island (OK, I stole that from their website), it's Canada's only premium gin. Here's what else they say about it:
Our gin balances the characteristic evergreen flavour of juniper with notes of citrus, floral, and spice. We distill it in small batches in a gleaming handmade wood-fired copper potstill. Only the middle part of each run, the hearts, is saved for bottling. The result is an intensely flavored spirit that is as full-bodied and complex as a fine single-malt whisky.Victoria Gin is only available in British Columbia and Ontario. I hope to be back in Victoria sometime in the fall. And although gin & tonic season will be over for me, it will be time for a sleek Victoria Gin martini.
Summer afternoon in the Bengal Lounge
Photo by Sue Frause