Okay, I got intrigued about the Aviation Cocktail. And I like the thought of floral notes on top of the floral/herbal notes of gin, so I got me some crème de violette tried a few recipes out.
Aviation Cocktail, from the SF Chronicle (also in Chron.com from Houston):
1.5 oz gin (Gordon’s London Dry)
0.5 oz maraschino liqueur (Luxardo)
0.5 oz crème de violette (Rothman & Winter)
0.5 oz lemon juice (Meyer lemons)
Shake with ice (you’ve got 1/2 oz of juice in there!), and strain into chilled cocktail glass.
Not bad. Flowery, of course, but pretty well balanced. Very nice on a relaxed summer day – not something you want more than one of, but with a light cheese and cracker appetizer, or green grapes – quite refreshing. I’d even consider popping a green grape in the glass as a garnish.
Aviatrix Cocktail from Food52.com, by way of Cooking4theWeek (to which I intend to return again and again…):
2 oz gin
1 oz Lillet Blanc
1 teaspoon crème de violette
2 dashes citrus bitters (Regan’s orange)
lemon twist as garnish
Stir over ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Add the garnish.
This one just brought out too many floral notes, and tasted like perfume. Food52.com’s recipe called for lemon bitters, but I don’t think that would have saved the drink for me.
The Attention Cocktail from SpiritsAndCocktails:
2 oz gin
0.25 oz absinthe (Lucid)
0.25 oz dry vermouth (Noilly-Prat)
0.25 oz crème de violette
2 dashes Regan’s orange bitters
Not bad, not bad. The anise is prominent, of course, but there’s a lot going on in this drink, so it’s not totally dominating. But this is about crème de violette, not absinthe. A one-off drink (not one you’d have more than one of), but should be enjoyed only before a strong flavored meal – roast beef with horseradish or goose maybe.
Aside: I’m still looking for an absinthe cocktail I can really enjoy. I loves me a nice Sazerac, but that only rinses the glass in absinthe (or absinthe substitute). I tried Death in the Afternoon – a good shot of absinthe under a couple ounces of champagne, but that didn’t thrill me either. Papa Hemingway did stipulate drinking 3 to 5 of those, so maybe I just didn’t go far enough.
Okay, Mr. Regan – you got something for me?
The Moonlight Cocktail
1.5 oz gin (he says “Beefeater, Plymouth, or Tanqueray”, but I had Gordon’s. So there.)
0.5 oz cointreau
0.5 oz crème de violette
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
Shake over ice for 15 seconds, then into a chilled champagne flute. I used a martini cocktail glass. Seemed to work okay.
This has been my favorite so far. The double floral hit of gin and violets is balanced by the citrus in the lime juice and the cointreau. The tongue gets most of the citrus, but the upper palate feels the floral tones. I’ll be back again for this.
Yale Cocktail – back to Cooking4TheWeek
1/3 oz dry vermouth
1/3 oz crème de violette
dash bitters (aromatic – went with the local (as in made by a friend down the street) 60 First Street bitters)
Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Puts you in the mind of a flowery martini. The recipe crafter (Haus Alpenz credited) balances the floral with the bitters. Not bad. I would try this one again.
Jupiter Cocktail from SFBartending.com (a different balance found at 1001Cocktails)
0.75 oz gin
0.5 oz dry vermouth
2 tsp crème de violette
2 tsp orange juice
Shake over ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.
Not awful, but kind of a Martinez on its way to a Martini, but jumped in the parking lot by a screwdriver (and beaten badly). Juice was store bought, I admit, but this was not what I wanted. Not as bad as the Aviatrix, but taste was reminiscent of fancy soap.
Soooo, after all of these (and frequently more than one), I still have 7/8 of a bottle of Rothman & Winter staring at me.
Nothing really grabbed me here, but enough pleasant options that could be served as entertaining, if not novelty, drinks. And all except the Jupiter, which came out grey, were quite pretty purple/lavender hues. I’d be happy, and confident, serving up an Aviation or a Moonlight Cocktail to you, next time you’re over.