Crème de Violette (Violet Liqueur): 14 Things You Should Know

1. What is Crème de Violette?

Crème de violette is a violet liqueur with purple hue and floral aroma. This liqueur, traditionally crafted from violet flowers, includes a base alcohol, typically brandy or neutral spirits, infused with violet petals. It is known for its sweet, floral, and slightly herbal flavor profile. The production process involves maceration and distillation, presenting varieties like pure or blended with other ingredients. Brands like Rothman & Winter, Tempus Fugit or Giffard offer quality examples. Price ranges from $15 to $50 in the U.S. Served in cocktails like the Aviation or solo, it adds a unique twist to culinary dishes. Its alcohol by volume (ABV) ranges from 20% to 25%.

2. Factsheet

  • Names: Crème de violette, violet liqueur.
  • Flavor Profile: Sweet, floral, with a hint of herbaceous notes.
    • Aroma: Delicate violet, with subtle herbal undertones.
    • Color: Deep, rich purple.
  • Production Process: Maceration of violet petals in alcohol, followed by distillation.
    • Base Alcohol: Typically brandy or neutral spirits.
    • Ingredients: Violet petals, base alcohol, sometimes with added sweeteners.
  • Brand Examples: Rothman & Winter, Tempus Fugit, Giffard, Bitter Truth, Monin.
    • Price Range: $15 to $50 in the U.S.
  • Serving Suggestions: In cocktails, over ice, neat.
    • Cocktail Examples: Aviation, Blue Moon, Violet Fizz.
    • Use in Cuisine: Adds floral notes to desserts and sauces.
  • Shelf Life: Several years post-opening.
    • Storage: Cool, dark place.
  • History: Originated in Europe, with a surge in popularity in early 20th-century cocktail culture.
    • Popularity: Niche but growing in craft cocktail circles.
  • ABV: 20-25%.
    • Sugar Content: Moderately high.

3. What does it taste like?

In terms of flavor profile, crème de violette (violet liqueur) offers a unique balance between sweetness and floral delicacy. The taste is rich in violet with a smooth, almost velvety, mouthfeel. The complexity emerges from its floral depth, creating a refined, memorable finish.

  • Aroma: The aroma is predominantly of fresh violets, with an enchanting, soft fragrance that complements its taste.
  • Appearance: It boasts a visually stunning deep purple color, adding visual appeal to cocktails and culinary creations.

4. How is it made?


The primary ingredient in crème de violette (violet liqueur) is violet petals, paired with a base of brandy or neutral spirits. Some versions may include additional botanicals or sweeteners to enhance flavor. Different producers use different species of violet flower and some also utilize other parts of the plant, like the root, in addition to its petals.

Production Process

The production process begins with the maceration of violet petals in alcohol, extracting their essence. This is followed by a careful distillation process that concentrates the flavor while maintaining the delicate floral notes. Traditional methods favor natural ingredients and slow infusion, whereas modern techniques might include additional flavoring agents for consistency.

5. Types of Crème de Violette

Violet liqueurs vary primarily in the prominence of their floral flavor and sweetness level. Some crème de violette types have a more pronounced floral note, ideal for cocktails where a strong violet presence is desired. Others might have a lighter touch, suitable for subtly enhancing a drink without overpowering it.

For example, the Rothman & Winter and Tempus Fugit brands offer a classic style, with pure and intense violet flavor that is comparably low in sugar and high in alcohol content. Other brands generally present a lighter, sweeter, more subtly flavored profile, often adding in other ingredients, such as spices like vanilla or fruit like berries and citrus. These differences cater to diverse palates and cocktail recipes.

6. Brands of Crème de Violette

Top Brands

1. Rothman & Winter: Known for its authentic floral aroma and deep violet hue. It’s a classic choice for the famous Aviation cocktail.

2. Tempus Fugit: Made in micro-batches according to its historical recipe, with hand-picked violets and little sugar.

3. The Bitter Truth: Offers a more contemporary take, with a brighter violet flavor and color.

4. Giffard: Renowned for its quality, with well-balanced sweetness and natural floral notes, making it versatile for various cocktails.

5. Monin: Commercial option that is widely available, affordable and versatile. Gin-based with the addition of red berries.

Brand Comparison

  • Rothman & Winter and Tempus Fugit vs. The Bitter Truth: Rothman & Winter and Tempus Fugit stand out with their classic intense violet aroma, while The Bitter Truth offers a subtler, more contemporary taste.
  • Giffard vs. Monin: Giffard is preferred for a more balanced profile in sophisticated cocktails, whereas Monin is excellent for vibrant color and general use.

7. Buying Guide for Crème de Violette

Price & Best Buys

Generally, crème de violette prices range from $15 to $35, depending on brand and quality. A premium bottle, like Tempus Fugit, justifies its price with superior flavor, authenticity, and natural ingredients, enhancing both cocktails and the overall drinking experience.

  1. Budget: Monin offers a cost-effective option for casual use.
  2. Moderate: Giffard and The Bitter Truth strike a balance between quality and price.
  3. Premium: Rothman & Winter and Tempus Fugit are the top choice for connoisseurs seeking authenticity.

Buying Tips

When selecting crème de violette, consider the following:

  1. Taste: Seek a balance between sweetness and floral intensity.
  2. Ingredients: Natural ingredients often indicate higher quality.
  3. Production: Small-batch production can mean more attention to detail.
  4. Use Case: Decide whether the liqueur will be used primarily in cocktails, as a standalone drink, or for culinary purposes.
  5. Brand Reputation and Value: Established brands often guarantee consistency and quality.

8. How to Drink Crème de Violette?

Serving Guide

Crème de Violette, a violet liqueur, offers versatility in its consumption. Best served neat, over ice, or in cocktails, it delivers a unique experience. Selecting the right glassware enhances its floral aroma; a stemmed glass, such as a snifter, is ideal. The optimal serving temperature is around 18°C (64°F), balancing the delicate violet flavors with its subtle sweetness.

Tasting & Appreciation

To properly taste and evaluate crème de violette, begin by observing its color and viscosity. Swirl gently in the glass to release aromas. Take a small sip, letting it linger on the palate to discern the balance between floral notes and sweetness. High-quality violet liqueur should have a harmonious blend of natural violet flavor and a smooth finish.

9. How to Use Crème de Violette in Cocktails?

  • Cocktails

Crème de violette, a violet liqueur, shines in cocktails like the Aviation, Blue Moon and Violet Fizz. Its floral notes add depth and character to mixed drinks.

  • Mixers

Mix crème de violette with dry white, rosé or sparkling wine for an aromatic and refreshing effect. For a non-alcoholic option, pairing it with sparkling water or lemonade complements its floral essence.

  • Brands

For cocktails, brands like Rothman & Winter offer a more pronounced violet flavor, ideal for robust mixes. Giffard’s variant suits subtler cocktail profiles. Monin is perfect for casual use and less demanding palates.

  • Tips

When mixing with violet liqueur, start with small amounts to avoid overpowering other ingredients. Its strong flavor profile requires a balanced approach.

  • Substitutes

For an alcoholic substitute, lavender or rose liqueurs can offer a similar floral taste. Non-alcoholic alternatives like violet syrup can mimic the flavor of crème de violette in cocktails and cooking.

10. How to Use Crème de Violette in the Kitchen?

  • Culinary Applications

Beyond cocktails, crème de violette finds its place in cooking and baking. It adds a unique twist to desserts like panna cotta or macarons and can be used in glazes for poultry or pork.

  • Food Pairings

Pair crème de violette with light and creamy desserts or fresh fruits like pears or berries. Its floral notes also complement mild cheeses and nuts, creating a sophisticated flavor profile in culinary pairings.

11. How to Store Crème de Violette?

  • Storage

Proper storage of crème de violette is crucial for maintaining its quality. Before opening, store it in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight. Once opened, reseal the bottle tightly. While refrigeration is not mandatory, it can prolong freshness. Violet liqueur does not freeze in standard freezers due to its alcohol content.

  • Shelf-life

Unopened, crème de violette can last almost indefinitely if stored correctly. After opening, its quality is best within a year. It’s important to note changes in color or aroma, as they indicate spoilage.

12. History & Popularity of Crème de Violette

  • Origins:

Crème de violette dates back to early 19th century Europe, with its creation attributed to France. It gained prominence for its unique violet flower infusion, a technique showcasing the era’s experimental spirit in liqueur production.

  • Cultural Significance:

This liqueur has been a symbol of refinement and elegance. It featured in classic cocktails like the Aviation, embodying the sophistication of early 20th-century cocktail culture.

  • Popularity:

Crème de violette enjoys niche popularity, especially among cocktail enthusiasts. Its floral notes offer versatility in mixology, pairing well with a variety of spirits and flavors.

13. Making Violet Liqueur at Home

Recipe for Crème de Violette

1. Ingredients: Fresh violet petals, vodka or neutral grain spirit, sugar syrup.

2. Tools & Equipment: Jar, strainer, funnel, bottle for storage.

3. Preparation Steps: Infuse violet petals in alcohol for 1-2 weeks, strain, and mix with sugar syrup. Age for additional smoothness.

14. Nutrition in Crème de Violette

  • ABV Content:

Crème de violette typically has an alcohol by volume (ABV) content of 20-25%, classifying it as a moderate-strength liqueur.

  • Sugar Content:

Violet liqueur is relatively high in sugars, contributing to its sweet flavor. Carbohydrate content varies but is generally significant due to added sugars.

  • Dietary Restrictions:

While generally gluten-free, it’s advisable for those with dietary restrictions to check specific brands. Vegan suitability varies by brand due to processing methods.

  • Disclaimer:

Responsible consumption of crème de violette is essential. Always research and make informed decisions regarding dietary choices and restrictions.

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