This delicious spring cocktail should provide an extraordinary colour. However, your Wild Violet Syrup may be quite pale and, in any case, it will turn pink when combined with lemon, so I suggest you add a couple of dashes of cassis to intensify the violet shade. If you do, add a couple more drops of lemon juice.
Wild Violet Sour
45ml dry gin
20ml Wild Violet Syrup (see below)
15ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
dash of crème de cassis or other
blackcurrant/blackberry liqueur (optional)
1 egg white
wild violet flower/candied wild violet flower, to garnish
Chill a martini glass thoroughly in the freezer or refrigerator for 2 or 4 hours respectively. Alternatively, fill the glass with ice.
Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Cover and dry-shake hard for 20 seconds to emulsify the egg white. Fill the shaker two-thirds of the way up with ice, cover, and shake hard for another 20 seconds. If you used ice to chill the glass, empty it out. Strain the contents of the shaker into the chilled glass. Garnish with a fresh or candied wild violet flower.
Wild Violet Syrup
Although this very sweet and floral syrup is a fiddle to make because the wild violet (Viola odorata) flowers are tiny and you need a lot of them, and the petals also have to be removed individually from their stems and flower centres, it really is worth it.
Makes approx 500ml
7 large handfuls of wild violet petals, stems and flower centres removed
500ml boiling water
approx 400g granulated sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
1 tbsp vodka (optional)
1-litre wide-mouthed, sealable jar, sterilised
sealable presentation bottle(s), sterilised
Place the petals in the jar, pour the boiling water over them, and seal. Let the petals infuse for 12 hours.
Strain the liquid into a measuring cup, then pour into a non-reactive pan. For every cup of liquid, add 200g sugar. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved (make sure it does not boil, or the blue colour will take on a gray tinge). Once cooled, funnel into the sterilised presentation bottle(s) and seal. If you are not happy with the colour, use a dropper or pipette to add lemon juice, drop by drop, until it is the perfect shade of violet. (If desired, add a tablespoon of vodka to make the syrup last longer.) Seal and store in the refrigerator. Use within 3 months.
Extracted from Floral Cocktails by Lottie Muir (Ryland Peters & Small, €10.80). Photography by Kate Whitaker © Ryland Peters & Small.