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Scotch Violets

I know, mixing anything with Scotch is sacrilege, but give this a chance, for your own good.

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This is one of those rambling recipes that I discovered in my quest to find things to do with my beloved Créme de Violette and have been experimenting with over the past few weeks. It has many subtle variations and all are worth tasting, so get some decent scotch and a few random bottles of wacky liqueurs that you claim you’ll never use (bullshit – I’ll show you what to do with them) and start mixing!

The basic idea here is to take the nice earthy base of a scotch and add some floral notes to soften the bite – in this case violet. It’s like drinking in a windswept field of heather speckled with violets next to a peaty bog while admiring a crumbling castle on the cliff in the distance… Is there such a thing as heather flower liqueur? There should be. Someone ought to try that… maybe I’ll make an infusion… what the fuck does heather look like? Do I have any in my yard?

In the meantime, you can start off making this with Créme de Violette, as the original recipe calls for, but also try it with Créme Yvette, which is a bit more sour and fruity version of a violet liqueur, which I prefer in this particular cocktail, although generally I like Créme de Violette better. And for those of you who are more adventurous, try Drillaud’s Rose liqueur. Call it “The Rose of Scotland” if you want (© In that one, which I’ve created and enjoy immensely, only use a ½ oz. of lemon – the rose flavor is more delicate and you don’t want the lemon to overpower it. You might find that you’ll want to experiment with that same ½ oz. of lemon in the classic versions as well, since the lemon can be a bit tart. On the other hand, you might try eliminating the honey and decreasing the lemon for a more pure cocktail, since certain brands of liqueur are sweeter than others. The whole fun here is to make subtle variations on a recipe and try them all. Hell, you might even try it with St. Germain’s or Green Chartreuse! The hard part is not getting too drunk to remember which one you like best. Write it down and then send it to me!

  • 2 oz. scotch (I’ve used Suntory Toki and Cardhu single malt)

  • ¾ oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice (or less)

  • ¾ oz. Crème Yvette (or Crème de Violette or Drillaud’s Rose liqueur)

  • ¼ oz. honey syrup (equal parts honey and hot water, stirred until honey dissolves).

Shake that all up and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice, preferably an “ice rock”.  Garnish with a lemon wheel or twist.



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