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The Dusty Bottle: Creme De Violette

By Anthony Todd in Food on Sep 5, 2012 6:20PM


You ever wonder whether some of those strange old bottles at the back of bars ever get used? We asked some of our favorite bartenders and mixologists to identify a bottle of spirits that seemingly never got used - the dusty bottle. Then, we asked them to create a great drink with that neglected spirit. Any suggestions for liquors or bars? Email

One of the classic dusty bottles which is part of every cocktail arsenal is Creme de Violette. The name evokes romance, delicacy and European refinement, but to many drinkers and mixers the actual liqueur evokes flowered soap. We have seen many a dust-covered bottle of the deep purple spirit sitting on a back bar, neglected and unloved.

The spirit has undergone a recent revival as the classic "Aviation" cocktail has come back into style. Unfortunately, some modern recipes omit the dash of purple entirely, which kind of defeats the point. We love it and couldn't imagine leaving it out, but didn't know what to do with it aside from killing the bottle 1/4 ounce at a time to make this one drink. Thank goodness Chef Guy Meikle, Chef at Nana Organic, came to our rescue with the Violette Royale.

"I love revamping classic cocktails and recipes and making them alive and vibrant," Meikle explained. "The champagne cocktail is a great way to start or end a meal, and one that is often overlooked. I love big bold rustic flavors for cocktails at the start of a meal, and then something more refined, simple and clean at the end. The Creme de Violette is a great way to introduce flavor without overwhelming. It also is for the drinker who wants a little challenge to their palette at the end of the meal."

At Nana, the drink is on the dessert menu, and its sweet complexity is a great way to end an evening. Meikle prefers Pages version of the liqueur, though uses Rothman & Winter (our favorite brand) on occasion. Try it with either: you might discover a new taste sensation.

Violette Royale
2 oz Creme de Violette
1/4 oz lemon juice
1/4 oz simple syrup

Shake the first three ingredients with ice and strain into a champagne flute. Top with cava and garnish with a lemon twist.