Have I got your attention? Good.
I recently had a delightful chat with my friend Paul Clarke of The Cocktail Chronicles — if you haven’t found that weblog already, you need to. He told me about a drink he’s been enjoying at one of his local Seattle watering holes, prepared by Jamie Boudreau. It sounded great, and when we tried it as soon as I got home that night, we found out that it was indeed a great one.
Of course, since our conversation was about esoteric cocktail ingredients, you might have a bit of trouble finding one of them … the once-elusive crème de violette. [At the time of this original post] I had been lucky enough to have my folks and a friend each bring me some back from France, and I had a mail-order source for a while — Sally Clarkes Restaurant in London.
The cocktailian world has also been abuzz about the introduction of a violet liqueur from Japan, Hermes Violet. Hard to find as well, but other Hermes liqueurs, plus aromatic and orange bitters, are available at tokyobaron.com. [Fortunately, these days we have Rothman & Winter Crème de Violette more or less readily available.]
If worse comes to shove, you can can mix Monin Violet Syrup (which is available in the U.S.) half and half with 100-proof vodka, which works kinda sorta okay.
There’s an amazing interplay between the violette and the Herbsaint in this drink; they kind of wrestle with each other for a second before embracing each other and leaping out as something entirely other. You have to be very careful in mixing, though. Herbsaint (or any pastis) is very easy to overdo, and can take over a drink. (The same goes for violette, actually, although pastis’ tendency to overwhelm is greater.) Measure only a scant portion of Herbsaint.
The Attention Cocktail
(by Jamie Boudreau)
2 ounces Plymouth gin.
1/4 ounce dry vermouth.
1/4 ounce crème de violette.
1/4 ounce Herbsaint (or absinthe).
2 dashes Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6.
Combine with ice and stir for at least 30 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass and enjoy.
We garnished with a curly lemon twist as well.
Thanks for this one, Paul (and Jamie)!