I didn’t plan to make this cocktail at all. The plan was to make The Aviation Cocktail; I thought a pretty purple cocktail with a bright red maraschino would be perfect for a Valentine’s Day cocktail but unforeseen circumstances saw that change only after I had setup the entire shot. What happened? Well, I don’t know what other folks are using but the truth is that the beautiful Aviation is really not all that pretty…and I blame the Luxardo Maraschino liqueur. Don’t get me wrong, I love Luxardo but it is basically a reddish brown and I worried as soon as I added both it and lemon juice to that perfect purple elixir that things might not fly and I was right. No choice but to punt and I had already considered the Blue Moon so I made a quick segue and am happy I did!
The Blue Moon is basically the same ingredients as The Aviation minus the Luxardo liqueur and the results are closer to what I wanted visually. My only other experience using Creme de Violette was when I made this cocktail during an Icelandic Festival in Denver. That cocktail used Reyka Vodka from Iceland and I was scheduled to meet the owner for lunch today while he was in town. Maybe he’s the one who brought this blasted cold with him…this morning it was -25 with wind chill when I put the dog out; seemed almost cruel it was so cold! As luck will have it lunch is cancelled and it’s because of a cold, not the cold. I’ve done my best to ward this off when I felt the first signs. Vitamin C, salt water gargle, Airborne to boost my immune system. Usually works but this one is tenacious and I’m sitting here; late with this post, sniffling, shivering and wanting to go back to bed. I could call this cocktail a medicinal libation right and take it with me?
After all is said and done…there is some irony that I liked the Blue Moon better! The Luxardo is sweet and I don’t think necessary. I enjoyed the combination of lemon, gin and violette. The violette is subtle but a nice floral hint that I enjoyed. Plus it’s prettier. Truth is even adding the lemon juice changed the color. Seems the only way to see a bright lavender, clear drink is to take a photo prior to those additions but I would rather give you the straight skinny; it’s good and it’s lovely but it’s not a pure bright purple cocktail!
Over the holidays I was gifted with a bottle of Tangueray Malacca Gin; I didn’t know until I decided to use it today just how lucky I was. Malacca was discontinued in 2001 after being introduced in 1997. Despite that early demise it it had built up quite the cult following and as a result it’s been brought back into production, fueled primarily by the craft cocktail movement and the bartenders behind it. Distinguished from London dry gin, it’s more similar to a style called Old Tom gin; less botanicals, not as dry and a bit more citrusy; I thought perfect for using in this cocktail. Now it’s in high demand but also it’s limited in supply. Definitely worth trying if you can find it.
Now I’m off to bed…Achoo!!
- 2 oz gin - I used Tangueray Malacca Gin
- ½ oz Creme de Violette
- ½ oz lemon
- Lemon twist for garnish
- Add all ingredients except lemon twist to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until cold and then strain into a coupe or martini glass.
- Garnish with the lemon twist.