If you love Empress gin like I do, you’re going to want to add this gorgeous purple cocktail to your to-do list!
Spring is here and this Peach Violet Gin Sour is the first of many bright, seasonal Empress gin cocktail recipes to come. The striking color of Empress combined with its fairly traditional flavor profile make it the perfect gin for colorful spring and summer cocktails.
Why use Empress 1908 Gin
This gin sour uses Empress 1908 Gin because although it has a brilliant blue-violet hue, it’s actually quite classic in flavor.
It’s botanical lineup includes some interesting things like ginger and rose, but what comes through most prominently to me is crisp juniper and citrus.
Butterfly pea flowers give the gin it’s characteristic color, which transforms from indigo to purple or pink when acids like citrus are mixed with it.
This cocktail is a deep purple thanks to the combination of Empress gin, a splash of violet liqueur (also known as creme de violette) and fresh lemon juice.
Spring flavors: peach, violet, lemon, & mint
Peach and violet are an incredible spring/early summer flavor combination. The sweet, tangy flavor of peach offsets the intensely floral flavor of violets. Here I’ve used lemon and mint to balance the sweetness and temper the heady, floral flavor of the violet liqueur.
About crème de violette
Crème de violette, or violet liqueur, is a very sweet and very floral liqueur. It adds a flowery punch of springtime to any drink you add it to. But use caution – too much and your cocktail can end up tasting like soap.
Crème de violette’s flavor is strong and can quickly become overpowering. I haven’t found an application where more than a half ounce of the stuff is needed. And like other boldly flavored liqueurs or liquors (think absinthe), you can also use it to “rinse” a glass to lend complexity to a wide variety of drinks.
Here I’ve used just a quarter of an ounce of violet liqueur. This is just enough to enjoy its intense floral flavor and to add some of its inky blue-purple color to the drink.
If you just picked up a bottle of crème de violette to make a classic Aviation and you’re looking for more violet cocktail recipes, here are some additional ideas:
- Violet Gin & Tonic: add 1/4 ounce (or even as little as a bar spoon) to 2 ounces of floral gin and 4-6 ounces of a premium tonic water such as Fever-Tree. I also like to add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice.
- Violet Gin Sour: Combine 2 ounces floral or citrusy gin (such as Uncle Val’s Botanical, Nolet’s, or Malfy Con Limone), 3/4 ounce simple syrup, 1/4 ounce violet liqueur, 3/4 ounce lemon juice, and one egg white in a cocktail shaker. Shake hard without ice to build the foam. Add add and shake again to chill the drink. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with an edible flower.
- Violet Daiquiri: Combine 2 ounces white rum, 3/4 ounce simple syrup, 1/4 ounce violet liqueur, and 3/4 ounce lime juice. Shake with ice until chilled, then strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with lime or an edible flower.
You might also like my Pineapple Violet Daiquiri over on Instagram!
Violet liqueur substitutions
If you live in a control state with state-run liquor stores like me, you may have a tough time finding violet liqueur. You can order it online from shops like Wooden Cork or Keg N Bottle, travel to your nearest Total Wine, or opt to use a violet syrup instead.
If it’s springtime and you’re lucky enough to be blessed with a lawn full of violets, make your own violet syrup!
All else fails? Use lavender.
If you aren’t able to find any violet liqueur or syrup, this recipe is still delicious when made with a lavender syrup. It’s not exactly the same, but lavender and peach are another stellar flavor combination that works great with gin.
Violet liqueurs I recommend
I used The Bitter Truth Company’s Violet Liqueur for this recipe, but I can also recommend:
- Rothman & Winter’s Creme de Violette
- Giffard’s Violette Liqueur
I would not recommend using a cheap brand such as Drillaud. Cheap, artificial floral flavors will only make your drink taste cheap and artificial. Opt for a premium brand when selecting an floral (think rose or elderflower, too) liqueur or syrup.
Peach syrup or liqueur
If you have a peach liqueur on hand, use that. If you have some fresh, beautiful peaches, make my peach oleo saccharum-style syrup instead!
This easy peach syrup requires no cooking and just a little patience. Toss some chopped peaches with sugar and let them sit until they become syrupy. Add a little water and voila. Get the Easy Fresh Peach Syrup recipe.
Depending on which peach ingredient you use, you may need to adjust the amount of simple syrup needed.
Note: If using a peach liqueur, I recommend increasing the simple syrup from ¼ ounce to ½ ounce. If using peach oleo-style syrup, ¼ ounce of simple syrup should be enough to keep things balanced. And if your peach syrup is quite sweet, you may be able to omit the simple syrup altogether.
If making peach syrup isn’t in the cards for you today, I recommend Liquid Alchemist Peach Syrup.
Fine strain the cocktail for the best texture
I recommend fine straining this drink. Mint leaves are added to the shaker and the ice can break them up surprisingly fast. Straining the cocktail through a fine mesh strainer will prevent any mint bits from ending up in your glass.
Edible flowers for cocktails
I am passionate about edible flowers and this is the season to make the most of them! Orchids and violas are great options for cocktails like this one. Learn all about different edible flowers in your cocktails in my Cocktailian’s Guide to Edible Flowers.
You may also enjoy these other gin cocktails:
- Southside (with Empress Gin)
- Limoncello Reviver (with Empress Gin)
- Classic Gimlet
- Blueberry Gin & Tonic
- Strawberry Basil Gin Sour
Peach Violet Empress Gin Sour
- Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill it 3/4 with ice.
- Shake until chilled, then fine strain the cocktail into a coupe glass.
- Garnish with an edible flower, if desired.
Note: If using a peach liqueur, I recommend increasing the simple syrup from ¼ ounce to ½ ounce. If using the peach oleo saccharum-style syrup above, ¼ ounce of simple syrup should be enough to keep things balanced.