The cocktail that got me into cocktails was the Aviation, and though I was able to get a lovely Crème de Violette from Rothman & Winter back in the early teens, I was intrigued by several recipes I found that listed Crème Yvette as an alternative ingredient.
Outward appearances showed an ingredient that seemed up Tempus Fugit’s alley, ripe for reintroduction to a market with an appreciation for classic cocktails, so I ordered two bottles through a local liquor store. Fast-forward more years than I care to count: I still haven’t finished that second bottle.
The first problem: they decided to eschew artificial ingredients, and the lack of dye leaves this liqueur a lovely, raspberry red. Let me list a handful of the cocktail names that call for Yvette: Submarine Kiss, Stratosphere, Blue Moon, and, of course, The Aviation. The bluish purple of this ingredient is as essential to the drinks that used it as the unmistakable red of Campari.
The liqueur’s flavor is mostly berries, unlike the floral crème de violette, which, whatever that says about me and the cocktail canon I know best, is neither as interesting nor as useful. But it’s not that it tastes bad: so this drink is my most successful attempt to use it.
Inspired by Valentine’s Day chocolate, it’s an attempt to fold chocolate and berries together in the mold of a classic cocktail, with velvet texture from the egg white and lemon juice to provide the requisite tartness. For the gin, I recommend a class London Dry, or something with an edge to it. (The truth is that Beefeater does just fine.) For the crème de cacao, I am noticing more and more fancy bottles of things that look like they’re worth trying: it’s hard for me, personally, to use anything other than Tempus Fugit.
If you don’t have Crème Yvette–and this post isn’t exactly an attempt to get you to run out and buy it–it should be a good template for any berry liqueur you might be interested in finding uses for. Maybe Chambord works well here? I should really try it, too, with crème de violette itself.
The name comes from my favorite installment of the Richard Linklater trilogy with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke.