Horticulture Club

2 oz White Whiskey <Bully Boy>
1/2 oz Montenegro
1/2 oz St. Germain
1/4 oz Creme de Violette

Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with flamed lemon peel.


The other night I decided to take a different approach to the flavor profiles in my drink.  Normally I lean towards the boozier, slightly bitter side of the spectrum.  To switch things up, I looked through my bar for liqueurs with a more floral personality. Creme de Violette was an obvious place to start.  The aromas in this bottle make you feel like you’ve walked into a flower shop.  A friend recently lent me some, and I’ve only put it to use in Aviations so far.  This was the perfect opportunity to see how it gets along with other bottles.  Plus, the news that Prince had passed just broke, so I figured the purple liqueur would be a nice mini-tribute.  

Amaro Montenegro was next up.  To say I’ve enjoyed this bottle since introducing it to my home bar would be an understatement.   I’m kind of annoyed I passed over it on so many liquor store runs.  Since it is an amaro, the trademark bitterness is still there, but it plays more of a supporting role.  Instead, a floral sweetness dominates, which always adds a unique twist to any drink.  Its brilliant yellow-gold color is impressive too.

Rounding out this liquid bouquet was St. Germain.  Extremely popular at the dawn of the cocktail renaissance of the mid aughts, I tend to forget about it these days.  That could have something to do with its back left corner position in my bar, but more likely it’s a result of the sweet elderflower botanicals that can dominate a drink.  Here though, that is sort of what I wanted, so off with its cap!

You may have noticed I’ve yet to mention a base spirit.  I knew that for a flowery drink, the liqueurs would do much of the heavy lifting, and the base spirit should play a more complimentary role.  That’s why it was the last thing I tackled.  Once I had an idea of the type of botanicals in play, it was easier to choose the main ingredient.  Obviously it couldn’t be anything that would overpower the delicate garden in the glass.

Gin was an option, but even that brought to many familiar floral notes.  The more I thought about it, the more it sounded like a job for white whiskey.  It had the booziness to anchor all the lightness in the drink, plus the maltiness added a different kind of sweetness.  Finally, a flamed lemon peel garnish to bring it all home.  This technique is not just about showmanship.  Igniting the oils brings out more of the aromas you might find on the lemon tree blossoms than the citrusy notes from the fruit.

Once everything was in the glass, I knew I had achieved my goal.  The aroma was so wonderfully perfumy, Mrs. Muddle could dab some on her wrists and behind her ears before a night out on the town.  On the sip, the alcohol from the whiskey grounded everything, as the taste alternated from blossomy sweetness to mild bitterness to warming booziness.  All in all, this is a seemingly soft, delicate drink that ends up packing a lot of punch as you empty the glass.  Which actually seems like a perfect cocktail to raise in honor of his Purple Majesty.

Also, check out my MxMo post from last week, now updated with the full roundup from Frederic at Cocktail Virgin Slut.

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