What is Creme de Violette

Crème de Violette

By Timo Torner / Last updated on October 1, 2022 

Crème de Violette is a dark blue or purple-colored floral liqueur made from violet flowers. Similar products are sold under names like "violet liqueur" or "liqueur de Violette".

Crème de Violette is a forerunner to other popular floral liqueurs like Parfait D'Amour and Crème Yvette. The liqueur made from violet flowers was unavailable in the US for decades.

Luckily, in 2007 Haus Alpenz began importing the key ingredient for the Aviation cocktail again. Soon after, other importers followed suit and began importing various violet-flavored liqueurs.

Learn more about what Crème de Violette is, how it tastes, and how you can use it in cocktails.

What is Crème de Violette?

Simply put, Crème de Violette is a liqueur colored and flavored with violet flowers. The coloring and flavoring are often natural but also can be artificial. That depends on the brand, as there is no legal requirement.

The base of the liqueur is either Brandy or a neutral grain spirit. On some occasions, it's even a combination of both.

Bottle of violet liqueur

The ABV of Crème de Violette typically ranges between 16% and 22%. The products from Monin and Giffard are on the lower end of this spectrum, and the liqueur from The Bitter Truth is on the upper end.

The history of Crème de Violette

Crème de Violette is a relatively old liqueur dating back to the early 19th century. In the 1890s, the popularity of the dark purple violet liqueur peaked.

At this time, Crème de Violette wasn't consumed in cocktails but simply in combination with Dry Vermouth. In the 1900s, interest in the liqueur dropped. As a consequence, many producers decided to discontinue their violet liqueurs.

Ensslin's recipe for aviation with Creme de violette

In 1916, Hugo Ensslin created the original Aviation cocktail recipe. Part of this was also Crème de Violette. Unfortunately, this didn't help the liqueur from becoming a rarity on bar menus.

When Haus Alpenz decided to bring back Crème de Violette to the US, the craft cocktail movement had already started. Therefore, bartenders began experimenting with it as soon as it hit the market - and naturally, they tried Ensslin's classic recipe.

Since then, the demand for Crème de Violette and other violet-flavored liqueurs has been rising again.

Taste

Crème de Violette has a distinct sweet and floral flavor from violet flowers, buds, and petals. Depending on the product, the liqueur often carries notes of herbs, citrus, and even fruits.

Color

The color of the liqueur is usually dark purple to dark blue. The shade depends on the brand and, ultimately, the ingredients of the specific liqueur.

Likewise, the color of the iconic Aviation cocktail ranges somewhere between purple and blue. That, however, does not only depend on the ingredients but also on whether you shake or stir the drink.

How to pair Crème de Violette

Crème de Violette pairs perfectly with citrus fruits like lemon. Also, the botanical notes of Gin go particularly well with the floral and herbal notes of Crème de Violette.

Crème de Violette cocktails

Crème de Violette is best known for its use in an Aviation cocktail. But since it came back to bar menus in the mid-2000s, the liqueur keeps appearing in countless other drinks, as well.

Aviation cocktail

One easier-to-make creation is called Violette Royale, which pairs the floral liqueur with Champagne and rounds off the simple drink with a lemon peel.

Another popular Crème de Violette cocktail is Blue Moon. The list of ingredients is pretty similar to the one of the Aviation but lacks Maraschino liqueur. 

More floral liqueurs

Floral liqueurs are often an elegant way to sweeten drinks and, at the same time, add a floral touch. They are a favorite to mix into romantic cocktail creations for Valentine's Day or spring or summer drinks.

  • St Germain Elderflower liqueur is a secret weapon for many bartenders.
  • Parfait Amour is French and translates to perfect love. No wonder this liqueur is featured in many Valentine's cocktails.
  • Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto is a rose flower liqueur from Italy. The combination of rose flowers and citric notes from bergamot oranges makes it a perfect sweetener for Daisy cocktails.
Classic Aviation Cocktail

Aviation

A classic Gin cocktail with a purple shade.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gin
Servings: 1
Calories: 217kcal
Cost: $3.40

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Gin London Dry or Plymouth
  • 0.5 oz Maraschino Liqueur
  • 0.25 oz Crème de Violette
  • 0.75 oz Lemon juice
  • 1 Maraschino cherry as a cocktail garnish

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to your cocktail shaker. Fill it with ice and shake until the drink is chilled.
  • Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  • Finally, garnish your Aviation with a Maraschino cherry speared on a cocktail pick.

Nutrition

Serving: 3.75oz | Calories: 217kcal | Carbohydrates: 28.25g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 0.15g | Sodium: 4.75mg | Potassium: 77.25mg | Sugar: 24.88g | Vitamin C: 29.25mg | Calcium: 4.5mg | Iron: 0.08mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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