Review – The Bitter Truth Liqueurs
One of the greatest things about liqueurs is their ability to totally transform a cocktail from drab and uninspiring into something exciting and desirable. The Aviation is a case in point. Without violet liqueur and you’ve got a very plain gin sour, with it and you’ve got one of the very best classic gin cocktails created. This version from The Bitter Truth is produced from wild Alpine violet blossoms added to grain spirit.
Neat: Not as exciting as the nose. A fair amount of alcohol and it is not until this burns off that the full flavour of the liqueur becomes prominent. The violet flavour builds in the mouth and leave a wonderfully pure violet fragrance lingering on the finish. Upfront is warming and rounded, with earthy undertones whilst the mid-palate is a touch disappointing with a slightly plasticky and alcohol-driven note. Surprisingly delicate.
Mixing: Many violet liqueur recipes call for white spirits as a base, and in such cases this liqueur works exceptionally well. In the classic Aviation, the journey of flavours starts with juniper, heads into a sweet-sour mid palate, and finishes with a sublime lingering floral finish. It is refined and subtle, yet flavourful and complex. Such is the subtlety of this liqueur in cocktails, that drinks which on paper perhaps sound a little questionable such as the signature (recipe below) Violet Gimlet in which gin and lime cordial are the only two accompaniments, actually deliver the goods. Lime cordial and violet liqueur get on with each other very well indeed, and although it might be considered a touch on the sweet side, this showcases the best side of this liqueur. Where things don’t work quite as well is when used alongside bold ingredients such as sweet vermouth in the Martinez-esque The Defender. It’s just a bit too delicate to shine brightly enough and upping the proportion skews the sweet balance. It does however stand up in longer drinks where the other ingredients are not too bolshy in their flavours. the Violet Spritzer for example is refreshing, delicately floral and well worth a visit.
Signature Cocktail – Violet Gimlet
50ml London Dry Gin, 20ml Violet Liqueur, 20ml Lime Cordial, 5ml Lime Juice
Stir ingredients with ice and garnish with a lemon twist.
The Bitter Truth Violet liqueur is an excellent example of its type. Flavourful but not boisterously so, this is a violet liqueur that makes a very fine partner for white spirits. Rating: ★★★★
Tanqueray Gin is available to buy from Master of Malt.
★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this. You need a bottle in your life.