September 27, 2023 3:14 pm

The Empress Strikes Back!

While celebrating my wife’s birthday a few weeks ago we had the privilege of having lunch at one of our favorite Italian restaurants; Osteria Tulia in Naples. Not only is this a fantastic restaurant it also has one of the best cocktail bars in Southwest Florida, Bar Tulia, attached to it. This bar is always innovating new and exciting drinks, and I was frankly blown away by this one.

Flavor Profile: Light and Refreshing

The Empress

Course Cocktails


  • 1 Bar Spoon
  • 1 Mixing Glass
  • 1 Rocks Glass


  • 1 1/2 oz Empress 1908 Gin
  • 1/2 oz Cocchi Americano Vermouth
  • 1/2 oz Elderflower liqueur I prefer St Germain
  • 1 dash Lemon Bitters I prefer Fee Brothers
  • garnish Long Lemon Peel
  • 1 large Ice Cube


  • In a chilled mixing glass add the bitters.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients with several ice cubes.
  • Gently stir for approximately 30 seconds with a bar spoon.
  • Strain into a rocks glass over a large ice cube.
  • Garnish with lemon

My Take

A Negroni riff for people who dislike Negronis is the best way I can describe this cocktail. Many cocktail enthusiasts can’t get around the bitterness that is Campari which is one of the Negroni’s main ingredients.

The Empress Strikes Back! forgoes the use of Campari completely and instead uses Cocchi Americano and lemon bitters to give the drink a bit of bitterness but keeps it from going to an extreme. The gin use in this cocktail, Empress 1908, is best known for its rich violet hue caused by using butterfly peablossoms late in the distilling process. While not my favorite gin in a martini it’s rough and ready profile works great for mixing. Elderflower liqueur’s floral, syrupy sweetness is this cocktail’s secret weapon
which balances out the drink beautifully.

Music Pairing

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) “The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)” (1980, RSO)

My favorite Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes Back, is one of the best movies of all time regardless of low-brow space opera roots. The iconic Imperial March aka Darth Vader’s theme still gets me every time I hear it.


"Whisky is liquid sunshine."

George Bernard Shaw

“The light music of whiskey falling into a glass – an agreeable interlude.”

James Joyce

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