Thursday, October 18, 2007

Creme de Violette - An Unknown (but Excellent) Brand?

In the last couple of months, I've seen a few blogs and articles about Creme de Violette, a required ingredient for a number of drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book and other classic cocktails. A new brand of Creme de Violette has started appearing in the U.S, Rothman & Winter, imported by the folks at Haus Alpenz.

While we weren't able to locate a bottle of the Rothman & Winter in SF (and we've not seen any here in Chicago), we did manage to get a taste of it at Absinthe (yet another great cocktail bar we visited in SF). It was nice, but I must say it is not as good as the one we've regularly been buying in Chicago.

Of course, we can only find it at one store in Chicago (Sam's Wine & Spirits in Lincoln Park), and they are sometimes out of it, because those of us in the know buy it up and the company that imports it doesn't come to town very often, but it is exceptional.

It's made by G. Miclo in France, and is imported by a very small import company. It has a delicate yet complex violet flavor that lingers, and is not overwhelmingly sweet.

Anyone else tried this violet liqueur or the Hermes version (or another one)? What did you think? How did it compare to the Rothman & Winter?


Dr. Bamboo said...

Hi Sonja,

I just ran across this site and I'm having a good time browsing through your recent posts.

You're off to a great start, and I'm looking forward to more..I'll get you on my links list asap.

Anita said...

Wow, another violette!

We've tried the Hermes, and we didn't think it compared very favorably to the Rothman. it's not bad, per se, but given that it's hard to find, it's not really worth the effort. The phrase I used in the post was "tooth-rattling sweetness with a shocking floral intensity." :D

In SF, the only place that I know that stocks the R&W violette is Blackwell's Wines out on Geary.

~Sonja~ said...

Thanks Dr. Bamboo for the visit, and Anita for the comment. I guess I haven't missed much by not tasting the Hermes! :-)

I think the Miclo violette is a little sweeter than the Rothman, and the violet flavor is more complex and delicate (yet not overwhelmingly floral). If you ever get a chance to try it, let me know what you think!

And unfortunately I struck out at Blackwell's last weekend, they are out of stock, and not expecting more until November. I heard that John Walker also had it, but they were out of stock too. :(

friend.of.a.farmer said...

I as well tried the Michlo in Chicago. I found it sweeter and lighter on the violet, also much lighter in color than the R&W, Hermes and Benoit Serres. This one might be best suited on the rocks or in equal parts with vodka.

~Sonja~ said...

Thanks for the comment, friend! Once its available, I'll have to get a bottle of the R&W and try it in cocktails - it certainly may be that it works best in drinks (and better than the Miclo). Unfortunately we didn't get much of a chance to try that in SF. The Miclo is definitely sippable on its own, and its definitely sweeter. We have enjoyed it in a Blue Moon now and then, but also by itself.

Anonymous said...

The new Sam's Wines in the South Loop has it (right now) as well as the rose, plum, cherry, and framboise. They are all amazing.

~Sonja~ said...

Thanks for the update. For those not in Chicago, the website for Sam's Wine & Spirits is Perhaps they'll get this product onto their website so folks can order it online rather than needing to call.