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« Chic Cinco de Mayo | Main | The Basics of Entertaining »

Creme de Violette makes a comeback

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
soda water

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.

Blue Moon
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.)

Photo credits: violets, violet colored drink

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Reader Comments (2)

Wow, these drinks look delicious! I am so looking forward to trying the aviation, sounds perfect for an outdoor party this summer. You can't beat that gorgeous color.

I was so excited to see that you added my website to your blog roll, Thank you so muuch!! I love reading your tweets, and I am really looking forward to your back to basics series posts!

May 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Charmed Life

I LOVE creme de violette! The egg white recipe is particularly interesting and doesn't taste too bad either ;)

May 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterYana

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