Another from the indispensable Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, this one utilizes a rather rare liqueur, Parfait Amour. It’s an otherworldly purple in color, which I don’t expect is entirely natural, so I’ll have to admit to some divergence from my artificial dye policy. I’m nothing if not inconsistent. Parfait Amour is a curaçao-based liqueur, to which other flavors and botanicals are added. Marie Brizard will be the easiest to find, and that’s what I have. Page’s makes one too, which is probably of a higher quality; you can order it here. Interestingly, the latter is billed as “Parfait Amour Creme de Violette.” Creme de Violette is another purple liqueur, with a less citrusy flavor profile that is perhaps the antecedent of Parfait Amour. So with the Page’s product, I’m not really sure which you’d be getting. (To confuse things further, Creme Yvette, not too difficult to find, is essentially the same thing as Creme de Violette, merely a distinct proprietary brand name – both are flavored primarily with vanilla and violets; Parfait Amour seems to follow this procedure, but begins with a curaçao base instead of a plain brandy base.)
Anyway, now that you know all that, let’s get to the drink, huh?
1 1/2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce dry (white) vermouth
1 teaspoon Parfait Amour
1 teaspoon orange juice
Shake with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
As you can see, this one winds up sort of a glowing grey color, making it quite distinct visually. It’s got a good flavor; a little Parfait Amour goes a long way, apparently, adding a distinctive and fragrant sweet orange taste. Ted Haigh cautions that one must follow the recipe very precisely with this drink (I always do anyway), and warns that too much of the purple stuff will overwhelm the rest of the drink. I in fact doubled everything (well, quadrupled, since I was making two drinks) as 1 1/2 ounces of gin just didn’t seem like enough for a Friday evening. The only thing I didn’t like about this drink was that it had a faintly salty taste, which I think was coming from the vermouth. (Although this had the added effect of stimulating my appetite – one of the core jobs of the cocktail that in this case was answered by a round of chili dogs – yeah, it’s not all snooty Parfait Amour around here). Haigh’s counsel aside, I think this one might be better with a higher gin to vermouth ratio, 3 or even 4 to 1 instead of the 2 to 1 given here. Still and all, this one gets four livers.