Water Lily + Crème de Violette.
While relatively new I think it’s fair to call the Water Lily a classic cocktail. Almost all agree that the drink was created in 2007 by Richie Boccato at Little Branch – one of Sasha Petraske’s New York bar’s (always respect the creator of a cocktail with the credit they deserve). The Water Lily is beautiful both visually and in its quadrilateral equal parts simplicity. It also gives you something else to make with that Crème de Violette that you bought to make Aviations with. Briefly returning to the latter I’d like to add that I’ve always had an issue with the original version of the Aviation in that it seemed that if I added a little violette it came out an unattractive grey colour, yet if I added enough to give it the sky blue colour the name alludes to the flavour balance of this drink was dominated by the violette at the expense of the gin and maraschino and hence have continued to make the Aviation the “wrong” way – as I was before the rediscovery of the original recipe anyway. I’ve come to realise that some Crème de Violettes are more violently violet than other variants, with my Marie Brizard being very much at the paler end of the spectrum. On top of this Crème de Violette is not the easiest liqueur to find. Luckily I was able to borrow one of the more intensely coloured variants which might just be a solution for The Aviation Dilemma. The Bitter Truth – German bitters makers of repute – have a growing selection of liqueurs in their repertoire including a particularly intense Crème de Violette. Now given the limited uses for and relative scarcity of CdV opportunities for comparison are limited. Hence the opportunity to compare a couple should not be squandered. Simply put Marie Brizard is quite a pale shade of violet yet has a very punchy violet flavour while The Bitter Truth version is intense in colour with a “bluer” hue yet somewhat milder in flavour. Additionally, thanks to strict German labelling laws, we know that The Bitter Truth version has added colouring which may go some way to explaining the difference. I’d also like to add that in reality both of these drinks looked noticeably bluer than they appear in the picture but as a matter of principle I don’t mess with the colour balance in my pictures. Anyway, more than enough about Aviations and Violets let’s get:
Back to the Lily.
Despite sharing a few ingredients with the (original) Aviation the Water Lily is quite different, being sweeter and unashamedly more violet forward. Yet it’s an easy drink to make and just as easy to drink. It exudes a certain sophistication and elegant femininity especially when paired with a vintage glass and tasteful garnish. To get the best colour be sure to use a clear orange liqueur such as Cointreau or a triple sec – particularly so if you are using a paler crème de violette.
0.75oz / 22ml Dry London gin.
0.75oz / 22ml Crème de Violette (see text).
0.75oz / 22ml fresh lemon juice.
0.75oz / 22ml clear orange liqueur (see text).
Shake* with ice and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Rub rim and garnish with a swathe of orange peel.
Toast Richie Boccato creator of the Water Lily.
*Some recipes say to stir rather than shake and I consider this a reasonable alternative given the relatively small portion of lemon juice. The choice is yours.