Before I get into the cocktail, I have some lovin’ to dispense. I had an unexpectedly wonderful weekend full of cocktails, for which I must say a big “thank you” to Ted Haigh, as ever gracious and generous in his time and knowledge, as well as being excellent company; Vincenzo, Eric, Nick and Karen at The Doheny for their hospitality and the amazing drinks; Marcos, Eric, Chris, Jacques, Damian, Michel, Natalie, Chuck!, Amy!, Rebecca, Courtney and everyone else who took part in The Sporting Life this month. It was a wonderful event and I’m thrilled to know that cocktails are finally coming of age in the City of Angels. I look forward to the wonderful things that are sure to come from such a talented group!
Remember that bottle of créme de violette I mentioned a few posts back? The one that my darling sister bought us as a gift? The bottle I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to find for months now? Well, friends, that lovely, slender, lavender vessel now lives in my bar and it has been calling out for attention. Naturally, wanting to do things right with such an unprecedented newcomer, we gave it a taste before I committed it to the shaker.
As Jamie pointed out, the nose on this isn’t precisely enticing, though I wouldn’t say it’s off-putting, either. It has an earthy, almost dusty sensibility edging around the distinctly flowery essence. The color was much more purple than I expected to find in a small pour, which made me a little bit suspicious about the coloring agents. That footnote aside, the flavor was pretty much what you would expect—violets, similar to the taste of a pastille. Subtly floral and not terribly sweet, it has a very savory character despite the candy-bright color.
I’ve been fortunate enough to taste real Créme Yvette, which is the only other violet liqueur I’ve ever had. Comparatively the violette doesn’t have the rich, complex character of the Yvette, nor the subtle sweetness, but it certainly delivers on the violet flavor—which is the main component of Yvette as well. As such, I decided to try out the violette in a Blue Moon, to see how it held up against the Yvette version.
2 oz gin (Plymouth)
½ oz créme de violette
Stir over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
While this drink illustrated the limits of violette very well, in some ways it’s disappointing that I have the original Blue Moon to compare it to. This simple little tipple illustrates perfectly how unfortunate the unavailability of Créme Yvette is. Made with violette, this is a nice cocktail—pleasant and earthy with some floral notes flirting around the edges, but even a mild gin like Plymouth runs over the one-dimensional flavor of the liqueur. To make this really sing it’ll need some tinkering and an all together different proportion of the liqueur to approximate the subtle charms of the Yvette cocktail. Ah well, back to the drawing board…