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May 15, 2015

DIY Crème de Violette

Spring is here and so is the first wave of fresh ingredients.

Homemade violet liqueur can be made right now and for the next week or two in Ontario. 

But don't do it!

This might look tempting but you should not make this recipe.

If you live in a part of the world where you can purchase violet liqueur or even a violet syrup, do that. 

Seriously, this is one for the folks in Ontario or other places in the world where it isn't available for purchase. It is insane to try to collect eleventy hundred pounds of flowers to make a cup of liqueur. But for people who love it and aren't able to buy it, this is one way to get the flavour at home. You can also buy candied or dry violets, the rest of the recipe will remain the same.

I've been waiting a year to post this after having missed the violets last year by a week. Then it almost happened again. A while a ago I wrote about having a friend that gifts me amazing things from her garden. This time it was a huge whack of fresh violets, that she spent a day picking and delivered right to my door. I then set about ruining them. I spent the rest of the week feeling terrible that I wasted my friend's time and effort and trying to figure out how to get more violets.

I was wavering between giving up and giving in to theft, my neighborhood is full of violets right now. Every garden and lawn seemed to have them but mine, until today. This morning a patch bloomed on the far side of the house and I set to work gathering the flowers and carefully removing them from their stems. (I also have my eye on the all of the fruit blossoms around and I'm not yet fully resolved to stay within my moral boundaries...)

The violet petals need to be preserved in vodka right away to protect the flavour and freshness. After they steep, an equal part of simple syrup is added and that's it. It is actually a very simple recipe, it's the timing and delicate care of the flowers that is somewhat tricky.

If you're unsure because you've never had it, ask yourself this; Do you like Thrills gum? If like me you are compelled to purchase it every time you see it because you can never get it enough, then this will be worth it. If you are among those to whom violet chicle tastes like soap, perhaps you'll want to try this week's cocktail without any Violette or substitute with a floral liqueur you prefer, something like the elderflower in St. Germain. I hold no judgement for the haters. If you asked me to make a liqueur with lavender, I might die. Just the thought of it makes my stomach churn and my head ache. Use ingredients and flavours you like, as you would when you're cooking, you'll have a much higher rate of success.

The Porter
1 1/2 oz gin
1/4 oz Creme de Violette*
1/4 oz Maraschino liqueur
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz egg white

Add all ingredients to shaker, fill 3/4 with cracked ice. Shake vigorously for no less than 30 seconds. Stain into chilled Coupette. Garnish with fresh violets or a cherry.

This cocktail is only a slight variation on a classic gin cocktail the Aviation.
I've added some egg white for texture and switched out the cherry garnish in favour of fresh violets. 

DIY Creme de Violette
2 C violet petals, no stems
1/2 C vodka, 40% abv or above
1/2 C simple syrup

Place petals in mason jar add vodka. Infuse for 8 hours. Add cool simple syrup, tighten lid, turn gently a few times. Let rest in fridge for 72 hours. Strain and return to jar, store in fridge.  

Do you love a product that you just can't get where you live? Leave it in the comments and I might just be able to help you DIY.

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