Violet’s (Garden) Party

Violet's Garden Party Cocktail // stirandstrain.comThis week I’m dialing it back a little with the ingredients. I’m sure you lot would love it if the drink recipe didn’t include a laundry list of items that would mean at least two separate store trips. And possibly an Amazon purchase. I get it; I want simple sometimes too. But let’s not get too lazy. One item I have in my bar at home that may seem odd but worth picking up is violet liqueur.

But it tastes like flowers. Well, no, not really. While its uniqueness does come from the floral aroma, it imparts a delicate sweetness as well when used in moderation. You’ve had an Aviation, right? Did it taste like you were choking down a garden? If it did it wasn’t made properly, and if you really want a good one, check out the Improved version.

So let’s just get this out there, you will need violet liqueur for this drink. But, everything else you should have on hand, or have a neighbor who could help out.

A short while ago I was sent a copy of The Best Craft Cocktails & Bartending with Flair which I’ve been perusing as of late. Besides a multitude of more complex cocktail recipes, which are projects I always love, there were also the smattering of more approachable recipes that one is drawn to since it can be done with ingredients you probably have on hand. Today’s drink stems from one of those.

There are just 3 key players in this drink, but the complexity of each ingredient transforms this into a much livelier concoction than expected. Also, it doesn’t hurt that this is an easy drinker and that here in Southern California it’s pretty dang hot outside still in January. Perhaps you should turn your heat up and make one of these while watching the Travel Channel’s island report show. I swear it will help combat any SAD symptoms you may be experiencing.Violet's Garden Party Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Adapted slightly from The Best Craft Cocktails & Bartending with Flair*
Yields two cocktails
3 oz. Partida Anejo Tequila*
1-1/4 oz. Bitter Truth Violet Liqueur
3/4 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice, Bearss used here

lime wedge for garnish

Mix tequila, violet liqueur and lime juice in a mixing glass 2/3 filled with ice to chill for about 20-25 seconds. Strain over a large ice cube in a rocks glass. Garnish with the lime wedge.

The violet liqueur is one of those “a little goes a long way” ingredients and I believe is actually a good match for another strong character found in the Anejo. I actually cut back the violet a 1/4 ounce from the original recipe and upped the lime juice a 1/4 ounce to balance my own ingredients. The result was a refreshing drink that was both floral and bright, and really a good day drink for me. The tequila I found to be more prominent on the nose but blended nice and evenly once mixed.

Anyone have any other recipes with Violet Liqueur? I’d love to hear about them!

*Items generously given gratis and appear here because I like them. For more info on sponsored products, affiliate links, and gifted booze, please visit the About page.

Improved Aviation Cocktail

improved aviation cocktailAmazon is both a pleasure and a curse. When a box arrives on our doorstep, the first thing I think is “Oh crap. How much did we spend this time?”. And then I open up the box and all questions of financial insanity are wiped clean away. Because I got a new cocktail book! My husband was browsing this time around and picked it out due to the crazy techniques in the description he found online. A Japanese take on cocktails, Cocktail Techniques by Kazuo Uyeda instructs the reader on making an ice sphere by hand, and the author’s well-known technique of “hard shaking” to mix cocktails. He thought it would make for an interesting break from the cocktail books I have been reading.

Not very far into this book and I’m already feeling schooled. There is a discipline that Uyeda not so subtly is trying to get across to the reader. Mainly, I should know how to make all great cocktails well first before I try and make my own. Well, hrm. This blog would start to get very boring if I just ran through the roster of drinks you’ve already heard of. One point he makes that stuck with me is that once you can make a cocktail, make it better. That doesn’t mean that you have to go out and re-make the martini, but what I got from this was go out and make it great and to your liking.

Which brings us to the Aviation cocktail.

Personally, I find it boring. With it’s unique blend of ingredients (VIOLET!) there should be more… flavor? Balance? Anything. Taking the cue from Uyeda I decided that I’ve had this enough out and at home that I think I could find a way to improve upon it. In the end I believe, for my preferred tastes, that I have.improved-aviation-3

2 oz Plymouth Gin
3/4 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 oz Maraska Maraschino Liqueur
1/4 oz The Bitter Truth Violet Liqueur
1/4 oz Bénédictine
3 drops Miracle Mile Sour Cherry Bitters
2 drops Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6

In a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, add all ingredients and shake. Strain into a chilled coupe.improved-aviation-2

The resulting cocktail has more layers of flavor. In short, less boring. They are not loud, in your face flavors, but they balance the drink out considerably. Lime works as a better acid with the floral violet than the  lemon did. Adding the Bénédictine and both bitters creates those more complex layers this drink needed, as well as a more pleasant citrus and cherry nose instead of the heavily perfume-y nose it originally had.

So is there a well known drink you’ve had but are not wowed by it? Go ahead and let yourself make it better. You’re the one who has to drink it.