Every home bar has that one bottle that sits untouched, collecting dust until you get the hankering to make the one cocktail that requires rescuing it from the depths of obscurity. If you love cocktails, you probably know about violette liqueur. Made by macerating violets, this intensely colored floral liqueur is best known for its use in the delightfully hued Aviation cocktail (a blend of gin, lemon juice, Maraschino liqueur and crème de violette).
But as lovers of the cocktail know, that recipe calls for a meager quarter ounce. And let’s face it, odds are that same bottle will adorn your bar for the coming decade—unless you find a few new ways to put it to work. Having trouble getting through 750ml of violette liqueur? Here are a few simple ways to put this singular ingredient to work.
Editor’s Note: crème de violette liqueurs have more sugar and a lower ABV than liqueurs de violette. Keep this in mind when purchasing and creating your cocktails.
Just Add Bubbles
Classic cocktails like the Aviation and Blue Moon prove that violette liqueur works well alongside similarly bracing ingredients. But this sweet liqueur can also shine on its own. The simplest way to make this sweet and pungent liqueur earn its keep is by mixing it into a glass of sparkling wine or soda water—that’s it. This easy pairing will allow its floral notes to shine, unencumbered. Just remember: A little bit goes a long way. Start small—and always garnish with lemon rind. Try with Crème Yvette.
Make Your Sours Floral
One of the easiest—and most popular—families of cocktails to make at home are sours. This family of cocktails includes everything from Gimlets and Daiquiris to Margaritas and Whiskey Sours. With a mere three ingredients, these cocktails readily withstand a bit of experimentation. The next time you whip one up at home, pull out your bottle of violette liqueur. Add in a quarter to half an ounce and watch the color and flavor transform. Try with The Bitter Truth Violet Liqueur.
Turn It Into A Syrup
There are plenty more ways that enterprising bartenders have found to incorporate violette liqueur into cocktails (flip through a few recipe books for inspiration), but it can also be put to good use in the kitchen. Combine a cup of the liqueur with two and a half tablespoons of sugar in a small saucepan. Then simmer until the mixture reduces by about half. Allow to cool and you’ll be left with a fantastic and flavorful (but not boozy) topping for your favorite desserts. Try on everything from ice cream to cake to custard. Try with Giffard Crème de Violette.
Bake It Into a Cake
If a drizzle of violet syrup on your cake isn’t quite enough for you, why not add a bit into the cake batter too? Whether using a box mix or your grandma’s tried and true cake recipe, add in one to two tablespoons of crème de violette to lend a hint of color and flavor. Of course, adjustments to quantity may need to be made. But once you’ve found the correct ration, it may prove more satisfying for your sweet tooth than a roll of Choward’s Violet Mints. Try with Rothman & Winter Crème de Violette.
Try Your Hand at Violet Truffles
Perhaps you’re looking for a simple-but-impressive treat for a holiday or birthday party. Or maybe you just have a craving for fancy confections. Either way, you can try injecting a simple truffle recipe with a touch of perfumed violette liqueur. A couple of tablespoons is all that’s required to inject bittersweet chocolate with all the flavor and aroma of a bountiful springtime garden. But be warned: Add too much and it may be more reminiscent of a perfume counter. Try with Tempus Fugit Liqueur de Violettes.