April Showers are supposed to bring May Flowers, but so far in Chicago all we’ve had is rain, rain, rain...not so much in the flower department. So how about drinking some flowers, instead?
I love introducing guests to new drinks, and one such ingredient that's sure to make a splash is Crème de Violette. It’s very, very French - would easily fit in with the French Happy Hour theme! - and until recently, impossible to find. Large urban liquor stores like Sam’s or Binny’s are now carrying it, but depending on where you live, you might have to have it shipped. Rothman & Winter is the most common brand in the US (pictured above...don't you love their art deco label?)
This liqueur, popular pre-Prohibition, is flavored with violet flower and has either a brandy or neutral spirit base. It lends itself well to spring cocktails. Violet Hour in Wicker Park has sparked interest in this classic spirit among Chicagoans. Here are some recipies to get you started...
Hush and Wonder by Toby Maloney at VH (source)
Rinse a martini glass (or a coupe glass, if you want to be authentic) with creme de violette
Into martini shaker, add:
2 oz rum (Matusalem recommended)
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz simple syrup
1 dash bitters (Peychaud's recommended)
Shake, strain, and pour into glass. Before serving, use a grapefruit twist high above the glass, so that “just a suspicion of oil hits the top of the drink”.
Violette Fiz (source)
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp sugar
1½ oz gin
1/2 oz Crème de Violette
Shake first four ingredients well over ice. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice and top with soda water.
V’ioletta by Junior Merino, pictured at very top (source)
2 oz gin (G’vine Floraison recommended)
¼ oz Crème de Violette
1 egg white
¾ oz simple syrup
¾ oz lime juice
top off with 1 oz of club soda
Pour all the ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice, shake, and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with currants.
2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce Crème de Violette
1/4 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice, strained
Shake and strain into a cocktail glass; garnish with a twist of lemon.
2 shots gin
½ shot lemon juice
⅓ shot Maraschino
⅙ shot Crème de Violette
Shake and strain into a cocktail glass
You can even use crème de violette to make cheesecake! (If you do this recipie, here's a discussion on "quark". Maria Cookies can be found in the hispanic foods aisle, or you can substitute tea biscuits.)