It's the time of year when everyone's talking about new beginnings. Around the bar, it means it's time to roll up my sleeves and give everything a thorough deep-cleaning. It's sticky work, but someone has to do it.
While I was going through our stock, I noticed we somehow found ourselves with two bottles of parfait amour, that unique purple liqueur with a complex, citrusy flavor. Parfait amour is a rarely used ingredient and a little goes a long way, so one bottle is plenty for most any bar.
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But then, the plot thickened. I noticed that one of the bottles was actually crème de violette masquerading as parfait amour. The only thing that both spirits have in common is that they're purple.
While parfait amour is a citrusy potion closely related to curaçao liqueur, crème de violette is a floral liqueur with the flavor of violet flowers. There are a small number of bottlings out there; thankfully, they're all pretty darn good.
I'm partial to Crème Yvette, a proprietary crème de violette blend that was long gone but recently resurrected. Yvette bolsters the violet flavor with a little bit of berries and other things. One problem: As far as I know, no liquor distributors in Arizona carry Crème Yvette. So, if you want Yvette you'll have to find it across state lines.
If you've been paying attention to your classic cocktails, you may notice that the Blue Moon bears a strong resemblance to the Aviation cocktail. While the Aviation uses astringent maraschino liqueur and a dash of crème de violette, the Blue Moon moves crème de violette into the spotlight.
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For gin, a good solid London Dry is the way to go. Softer gins like Bombay Sapphire and Hendrick's are too soft to hold up to the distinctive floral flavor of crème de violette.
Blue Moon 1/2 ounce lemon juice 2 ounces London Dry gin 1/2 ounce Crème Yvette (or other crème de violette)
Shake well with ice cubes. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.