Blue Moon Cocktials

This month is a Blue Moon month (at least by one definition), in that this August (2012) will contain two full moons: today (2nd August) and 31st August. I wanted to celebrate this celestial event and, whilst pondering this, the Blue Moon cocktail came to mind; the Blue Moon Cocktail is essentially a variation on the Aviation that doesn’t contain Maraschino.

But how can you link a cocktail today with one in 28 days time? Inspired by the [Master of Malt Negroni experiment], one possible answer revealed itself: to either bottle or rest it for the period between the two full moons. In fact, I decided to do both.

The Idea

Mix a large Blue Moon cocktail and divide into three, then:
1) drink one today;
2) put one in a bottle to rest; and
3) put one aside to “cask mature” for 28 days.

For Mrs. B, I decided to make a variation on the [N.Y. Flyer] that uses Rye Whiskey and Creme Yvette and treat it in the same three ways.

Blue Moon Cocktail

4pts Dry Gin
1pt Lemon Juice*
1pt Creme de Violette

1) Tasted Fresh Today (2nd August ‘12)
If you are the sort of person that thinks that an Aviation without Violette just isn’t worth having, than I suspect you may well like this. Dry, crisp and tart, with a sweet parma violet, floral finish. Delicious.

2) Tasted after Bottling (31st August ‘12)

You get plenty of sediment (which actually clumped into a ball, so it was essential to shake the bottle hard before mixing). On tasting, I found the drink had mellowed out, being much less tart. The dry gin and sweet floral violet notes are there, although, at the end, there is an odd biscuityness akin to an Amontillado sherry.
3) Tasted after having been “Cask Matured” (31st August ‘12)

Weirdly, this drink kept a lot more of its tartness and hadn’t mellowed; if anything, it was more acidic and the wood made little to no impact, although the same sherry, biscuity flavour was present at the end, too. This cocktail was in a slightly bigger bottle (70ml versus 50ml), so maybe this could explain the variation; either way, I didn’t finish the drink.

N.Y. Moon
4pts Rye Whiskey
1pt Lemon Juice
1pt Creme Yvetté

1) Tasted Fresh Today (2nd August ‘12)
Lightly woody and brilliantly cold – there’s a superb, wonderfully balanced tingle down my throat of alternating chill and warmth. The drink is dry, but also slightly fruity, with the light, woody notes slowly drawing out at the end. Just before that, there’s a sherbet-y, slightly sour note, much akin to parma violet sweets.

2) Tasted after Bottling (31st August ‘12)

3) Tasted after having been “Cask Matured” (31st August ‘12)

28 Days to wait…

Raiders of The Lost Cocktail Cabinet III – Creme Yvette

For the third installment of Raiders of the Lost Cocktail Cabinet, I shall look at a liqueur that I have long been fascinated by and so I was exceptionally pleased to receive a bottle of it on the last day of 2010. Creme Yvette is part of a family of floral liqueurs, including Parfait Amore and Creme de Violette; the latter was, at one time, so rare that a John Steed & Emma Peel episode of The Avengers entitled ‘Two’s A Crowd’* revolves around its scarcity.

Creme Yvette was once made by the Sheffield Company of Connecticut, but later production was taken over by Charles Jacquin et Cie (makers of Rock & Rye). It was discontinued in 1969 due to lack of popularity.

Forty years on, it has been revived by Robert Cooper (the chap behind St Germaine Elderflower Liqueur) and is now made in France. Mr Cooper’s grandfather had acquired the rights to Creme Yvette in the 1930s, so an original recipe was easy to come by; however, as many of the original suppliers no longer existed, the hunt was on to find new sources of ingredients. The results are listed below:

From Provence:
Dried violet petals
From Burgundy:
Red raspberries
Wild strawberries
And finally:
A spiced blend of honey, orange peel and vanilla.

In order to check the authenticity of his new creation, Mr Cooper tested it against some existing,vintage bottles of Creme Yvette; in a similar fashion to those that have recreated Herbsaint Originale and, in a small way, my own recreations of Gordon’s Orange & Lemon Gin. Here are my notes on a variety of ways of drinking this liqueur yourself:

Créme Yvette is bottled at 27.75%ABV

#1) Own
Nose: Vanilla, strawberries and cream, but also floral, like sirop de rose.
Taste: Creme Yvette has a silky smooth texture, with flavours of sweet violets or violet creams. There are also faint hints of Turkish Delight and purple grape. Sweet & delicious.

The following cocktails come from the Creme Yvette website, Cocktail Database and Straub’s Drinks as well as a number of other vintage cocktail books.

#2) The Defender
[30ml Old Tom Gin, (Hayman’s), 30ml Sweet Vermouth, 5ml Creme Yvette, Dash Orange Bitters: STIR]
A bit like a sweet Martini, the sweet vermouth and the yvette go very well together. Some floral (violet and rose) and herbal notes on the finish. Lovely!

The New York Flyer

The New York Flyer

#3) NY Flyer
[40ml Rye Whisky, 20ml Lemon Juice, 10ml Creme Yvette, 10ml Marashino: SHAKE]
This is variation on the Aviation with the gin replaced with Rye whisky and the violette with Yvette.

#4) Blue Moon
[40ml Dry Gin, 10ml Creme Yvette: STIR – Lemon Twist]
Floral and anise flavours, although there is no pastis or absinthe in the drink. There’s also a little citrus and violet. Considering that this only contains two ingredients, this is a rather complex cocktail; elegant and excellent.

The Lavender Lady

The Lavender Lady

#5) Lavender Lady
[20ml Dry Gin, 10ml Calvados, 10ml Cointreau, 5ml Lemon Gin, 5ml Creme Yvette]
Delicious! All the ingredients are exceptionally balanced. Sweet floral notes with hints of apples to start, then the citrus of the orange & lemon, then the bitterness of the gin, warmth of the Calvados and then flavours of apples and strawberries on the finish.

#6) Stratosphere
[15ml Creme Yvette in a Champagne Flute, Top up with 80ml Champagne]
Quite nice; an alternative to a Kir Royale. I often find the Kir Royale too dry, but by using Yvette this isn’t a problem as this liqueur is a bit sweeter. There are specific flavours of violet and strawberry. The bubbles of the Champagne also fit the name of the cocktail very well.

Angel's Dream Cocktail

Angel's Dream Cocktail

#7) Angel’s Dream
Very unusual: the cream acts as an intriguing barrier before you get to the rest of the drink. The cream smooths out the warmth of the liqueurs and results in the drink seeming to melt on your tongue. It was just the right quantity at this size and would make a novel, but tasty alternative to an after dinner mint.

#8) Belmont
[35ml Dry Gin, 10ml Creme Yvette, 10ml St. Germaine Elderflower, Top up with Soda Water]
This uses another creation of Robert Cooper, St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur. This cocktail is quite sweet ans fruit but for my tastes it is a bit sweet, even with addition of extra soda. I would recommend upping the quantity of gin and adding 5-10ml of lemon juice.

Yvette's Rainbow

Yvette's Rainbow

#9) Yvette’s Rainbow
[Layer a barspoon of the following: Calvados, Benedictine, Galliano, Green Chatreuse, White Creme de Cacao, Marashino and Créme Yvette.]
An exceptionally warming drink, full of the warmth of herbs and spice, and finished off with faint floral notes, courtesy of the Yvette. That doesn’t even mention how quirky it looks, my wife thought it looked as if it had been knitted and was amused that the layers remained intact as she drank.

In Conclusion
It has probably already come across that I think Créme Yvette is an exceptionally fine liqueur and I am certainly glad that it, like Lazarus, has been brought back from the dead. I think it has a place both as a cocktail ingredient and as a liqueur to sip. One well-informed friend commented that it was much more easy to appreciate Créme Yvette on it’s own then Créme de Violette, I’m inclined to agree.
Top cocktails would have to be the New York Flyer and The Lavender Lady although it makes a cracking Aviation too. A comparison  of a Créme de violette vs. a Créme Yvette Aviation is available here.  I just hope that Créme Yvette will be available in the UK soon!
* This is one of my very favourite Avengers episodes.