Cocktail of the day: Blue Moon

This one might take a little effort, but if it sounds intriguing to you, it’s more than worth it. If you’ve ever loved the aroma and flavor of violets … if you ever enjoyed C. Howard’s Scented Gum or Violet Mints, imagine what real violets and not artificially violet-flavored things might taste like.

I first tried this at Dr. Cocktail’s place, and thought it was incredible. “I need to be able to make these all the time,” I thought. Unfortunately, I couldn’t; at the time the primary flavoring ingredient was no longer made (which is not atypical of drinks from Doc’s bar). The drink called for gin, a touch of lemon juice, and a violet-flavored liqueur called Crème Yvette. Crème Yvette used to be made by Charles Jacquin et Cie (the people who make Chambord), but had been defunct for years; Doc got his batch from someone who knew how Jacquin made it, and who made his own for himself and his friends. Sigh … what to do?

Fortunately, there’s a similar liqueur Crème de Violette — not quite the proprietary formula of Crème Yvette, but close enough. The one I found at the time was made by Benoit-Serres in Villefrance-de-Lauragais, southeast of Toulouse in the south of France. They don’t export their products (bad news), but there lots of good news too!

UPDATE: As of 2008 Rothman & Winter Crème de Violette from Austria is available in finer spirits shops, and in early 2010 the original formula of Crème Yvette will be re-released by Robert Cooper, heir to the Jacquin company and the man who brought us St. Germain.

This is a very, very good thing, because with original Crème Yvette this is an absolutely exquisite cocktail.

Blue Moon

2 ounces gin (we like Plymouth).
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice.
1/4 ounce Crème Yvette (or Crème de Violette).

Shake or stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass;
garnish with a twist of lemon.

For a subtler cocktail, reduce the lemon to 1/4 ounce and the Yvette to 1 teaspoon.