Simple times call for simple drinks. Of course, these are not simple times. In fact, these times are about as complicated as times can be, even when you remember to carry the two and subtract by the hypotenuse. I could drone on and on about how I am not feeling well, having sustained a broken rib at a baby shower last weekend and how I am inclined to make an uncharacteristically short and sweet shout into the darkness, but rather than writing about all that, I reckon I should just get along with the business of actually being short and sweet in word count, not in stature. So with that lofty goal in mind, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Violette Royale.
This drink comes to us courtesy of those little purple flowers that grow in the garden bed beside our sidewalk. They aren’t violets, I don’t know what they are, but they are pretty and they made me want to make something to use them for garnish. There’s not a lot of history to this drink, I couldn’t find anything, anywhere. It has been said, allegedly, that in the Southwest they call this one the Four Inch Flower, but I prefer the original Continental title, for obvious reasons. It’s not even really a cocktail, as we normally think of them, as it only has two ingredients. You get that a lot when the bubbly is involved. The classic Champagne Cocktail was immensely popular and I figure that folks kept looking for new flavors to add to the sparkling wine in order to extend their menu, with two ingredient cocktails like this one and Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon.
I find it helpful to mix your drink to some light music and this looks like a fairly domesticated kitchen, so throw some Statler Brothers on the turntable and cue up “Flowers on the Wall” for this floral cocktail. Grab a pretty chilled coupe and pop in 1/2 of an ounce of Creme de Violettes. Enjoy that purplish hue, the aroma of your grandma’s decorative soaps wafting up from the glass, the way the music is incongruous, yet perfect for this moment. Pop a cork on your preferred sparkling wine, I went with a piccolo of Cupcake Prosecco and fill the glass with those sweet bubbles. Float one of those little purple flowers of indeterminate type on top and enjoy. Don’t forget to clean up any spills. It doesn’t have to be Spic and Span, you don’t have to eat off of it, just give it a good once over.
It is light. It is airy. It is refreshing. It is pretty. What more do you need to know? Well, it is reasonably well balanced. You have to be careful with Creme de Violette, it can go way too floral really quickly and cross the line from smelling like grandma’s “only for company” soap to tasting like that soap, which is not a good thing. The original recipe actually called for 1 ounce and that was way too much for me. I figure it was created by people trying to sell more bottles of the stuff, so they want you to use more. It’s always better to start at a lower concentration and add a little if you feel like the violets aren’t present enough for you. It is always easier to escalate, so we’re just gonna be like little Fonzies and keep things cool.
I kept up my end of the bargain. This drink is short and sweet, though I used more words than strictly necessary to convey that. It is also a painfully simple drink for these numbingly complicated times. It first hit the scene “between the wars” which was also a challenging period for many folks, so I guess that making this one in this situation is an entirely precedented occurrence in these unprecedented times. Life is funny like that and it is, indeed, food for thought. So, fire up a Red Apple, enjoy the drink and stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.
Just tripped across this. What you got there is a periwinkle (Vinca minor). The flower that is. Hard to expunge; might as well put one in a drink.