Crème de Violette

Blessings and salutations on the head of Nat, who returned from San Francisco with a bottle of Rothman and Winter Crème de Violette for me. May his head always be the unit by which the size of libations are measured.

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I mentioned several months ago that I thought I had found some crème de violette in Kansas City. I was mistaken. What I actually found was a Marie Brizard concoction called “Parfait Amour”. Some people have maintained that this is an adequate substitute for violette in an Aviation cocktail. They’re wrong. The only thing the Parfait Amour has in common with crème de violette is the color, which is indeed identical. Everything else is different. Where the crème de violette is only somewhat sweet (surprising for a crème), the parfait amour is cloying. Where the violette smells and tastes floral and a bit musty, the parfait is citrusy and tastes like an oversweetened blue curaçao. Where the violette is fairly thin and liquid, the parfait is thick and syrupy.

Of course, I immediately used my newfound acquisition to mix an Aviation cocktail, using this recipe. This tasted much better than the version I tried to make with the Parfait Amour. The result? Drinkable. Not the holy grail, to my taste, but then I’m also somewhat infamous for having very little interest in gin-based drinks generally. Still, I’m excited to have finally gotten to taste a real version of this legendary (and largely forgotten by the wider world) cordial.