Two days ago my friend, Mr. Manhattan, sent me a text message that he was at Beltramo’s, a liquor store in Menlo Park, and was about to buy a bottle of Crème Yvette that he had found there. I immediately texted him back and begged him to pick me up a bottle, too. He replied that he had expected me to say precisely that. And tonight he handed the bottle off to me at a small birthday party for a mutual friend, where we both spent part of the evening mixing up drinks for the crowd.
I’ve been salivating about Crème Yvette since I first read about it on Jamie Boudreau’s excellent cocktail blog more than a year ago. Since I’m obsessed with crème de violette, I knew I had to have some. It’s a classic ingredient that appears in old-school cocktail books (mostly in the Blue Moon and pousse café), but it hadn’t been made since 1969. And since the resurgence of interest in classic cocktail recipes in the last few years, cocktail geeks have been all atwitter about getting their hands on the new formulation.
Although the recipe uses dried violet petals (like crème de violette), it also incorporates several berries, like strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. For more on it, you can see a short article in Imbibe Magazine.
So, what’s it like? Well, it’s less intense than most crème de violettes, and has a sweet, though not cloying, raspberry flavor. A little whiff of orange peel and vanilla keeps it from going too far in the fruity direction. It makes a lovely Aviation, with a subtle berry aroma and without the sharp, almost aftershave-like smell that results when you get a little too carried away with the Rothman and Winter crème de violette.
The only downside? The color! While a crème de violette Aviation is a beautiful pale purple, a summer sunset color, the crème Yvette gives turns the drink a bright fuschia, distressingly reminiscent of a drink one might serve at a Sex and the City–themed party. Oh well. I’ll just close my eyes and have another.
Does anyone else have any good recipes for using Crème Yvette, other than the iconic Aviation, Blue Moon, and pousse café? I haven’t had a chance to dig around, but I’m sure I’ll be experimenting soon.