Hardly the shrinking violet type, flirtatious Libra’s cocktail is made with the sweet little Violet, flower child of Venus. Libra and Taurus are both ruled by Venus, as are all things beautiful, sensual, fragrant and sweet. If you’ve ever tasted a violet candy–or a candied violet–you’ll know how delectable this petit fleur can be. My mother’s childhood memories include digging for the violet creme in the box of chocolates her aunt would send every Christmas. That was in Britain where it’s not so hard to secure violet flavoured products; unlike the US, where it’s quite the challenge. You can find Chowards Violet gum & mints at select grocers, but for pretty much anything else Violet we must turn to our faithful World Wide Web companion. Violet syrup, violet liquor, violet candies and crystallized violets can all be found with the click of a mouse. In fact, France even celebrates a Violet Festival (La Fete des Violettes) where the town of Tourrettes sur Loup celebrates the harvesting of these precious blossoms which are it’s livelihood. (Thanks to Little Fancies for this interesting tidbit.) In contrast to it’s subtle flavour, the violet’s color is an intense purple, as you can see from the photo below. I just read in the NYT that artist Sigmar Polke used violet as a pigment in his paintings for a purple hue with an unatainable gold shimmer unable to be aquired with the use of our modern, conventional paints.
SHRINKING VIOLET (VIOLET CAIPIRINHA)
2 oz cachaca
2 tbsp violet sugar*
garnish: violet petals
Cut lemon into small pieces and place in wide-bottomed glass. Add 2 tbsp of Violet sugar, and macerate for several minutes until the mixture is of a paste-like consistency. You can muddle (or mush) the lemon and sugar with any of the following:
*muddler (EXPLORE THE POUR found a real good one)
* end of a thin rolling pin
* end of a wooden spoon
Fill glass with crushed ice and pour cachaca into glass, stirring before serving. Float violet petals for garnish (lemon wedge will do if you don’t have any.)
Pull the petals off as many violets as you can find. Here in New York, they usually bloom early May. Add 1/2 cup of violet petals to food processor with 1/2 cup sugar. Pulse five times briefly, and add another 1/2 cup sugar. Puree for 1 minute until flowers are disintegrated and sugar takes on a purple hue. (Recipe created by Gwen Sutherland Kaiser).