$ — 20% ABV — Violets
In a sea of brown and white liquor, blue and purple are uncommon colors to find behind a bar. It's the principal reason why that end of the spectrum is so often used as a marketing ploy: it stands out. Bombay Sapphire's blue bottle is hard to miss; Johnny Walker reserves blue for its most expensive expression; Bols even dyes their orange liqueur blue…
But the true royalty of the booze rainbow had been long since lost, and now it's found: the linchpin of the cult classic Aviation cocktail isn't blue at all, it's violet. Like a song you heard one summer, that one you can't sing well enough for Shazam to know what you're on about, a true violet liqueur has that haunting kind of flavor.
By the way, the song? It's September by Earth, Wind and Fire. You're welcome.
In Austria, eau-de-vie distiller Purkhart never completely shelved their three-generations-old violet recipe, always getting the odd order from bakers looking to make violet-flavored chocolate. With the cocktail craze out in force, your more eccentric liquor store is now sure to carry a few bottles from the Rothman & Winter line.
It's made from a blend of only Queen Charlotte and March violets so — while it does have some extra complexity — it's a true crème in the sense that there are no flavor modifiers, like vanilla. At once intense and relaxing, you'd be missing out not to buy a bottle of Luxardo as well to recreate that Aviation, or the lesser-known Blue Moon. It'll take a few tries to learn the ratios, and if you simply can't get it right? Champagne ain't never had a friend like this.
Purkhart is located in Steyr, Austria. Established in 1932 by Günter Purkhart, it remains an independent distiller. It is imported by Haus Alpenz.