Spring Violet and the Speakeasy

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“Big doesn’t necessarily mean better. Sunflowers aren’t better than violets. ” – Edna Ferber

You certainly have that one right, Edna Ferber.  Friday night consisted of a Single and Fabulous happy hour that turned out to be more than just one hour.  In fact, it was approximately 6 hours and 6 establishments.  Yes, we still count the ones where we weren’t served since  I’m certain that a memorable impression was still made.  So this would technically qualify this as a mild Single and Fabulous pub crawl.  I’m embarrassed that my directionally challenged detour and false eyelash repair deterred me for approximately 35 minutes but friends who have been to Vegas with me know that primpin’ ain’t easy.  And no, that’s not a typo.

So, there’s a big cocktail trend that has been going on nationwide but has finally reached Upstate New York.  We decided we would head to a local neighborhood known as the South Wedge for some meandering to different establishments; and to try the ‘speakeasy’ that is not really a speakeasy, Cheshire.  First and foremost, any bar that is named after anything from Alice in Wonderland wins points with me.  Second, any bar that incorporates throwback cocktails with the use of egg (as mentioned here) also wins points with me.  Third, it sits above a wine bar that we enjoy frequenting and belongs to the same owners.  Sold, sold, and sold.

Now let’s talk about the cocktails.  My Single and Fabulous cohorts and I settled on a Corpse Reviver (delicious and to be discussed at a later time) and three Stormy Mornings.  The Stormy Morning consists my beloved friend, St. Germain, creme de violette, lime juice, and champagne.  It was created in a bar in New Orleans and the recipe can be found here.  We thoroughly enjoyed them.  Twice.  Ironically, I had been thinking about violets, procuring some creme de violette, and experimenting in the kitchen since I read this post about violet fragrances.  I have struggled with getting my hands on a sample of that Annick Goutal fragrance rendition so I had to find some way to get my violet fix.  I love violets.  They smell great, and I have a list of fragrances that I enjoy which feature this note.  However, I particularly enjoy them in foodie-items like fancy chocolates and teas.  How could they possibly fail me in a cocktail?  I was not wrong. 

My friend said, “This is really refreshing.”  Actually, it was a more colorful description than that which also included a few f-bombs.

I agreed and said, “I could imagine this with some gin, particularly Hendrick’s because of the rose and cucumber nuances,” or something close to that, which probably also included a few f-bombs.

“Yeah,” he said, “The gin might cut the sweetness.”

After documenting our photogenic selves with someone’s smart phone doo-dad, we finished up at Cheshire, we decided to head back to Lux (another establishment that packs some personality-plus) and tried a St. Germain concoction by our favorite bartender, Phil.  Phil whipped us up something fierce with St. Germain and cucumber vodka.  I’ve decided to call his drink the Phil-er-up.  Inspired by my Friday night adventures, I chose to partake in some experimentation late Sunday afternoon.  After researching my ideas, I realized mine were not so original.  However, I created one beverage inspired by Phil (I’m not really a vodka girl so we’re playing with Hendrick’s gin, people) and a classic, revisited, known as The Aviator. 

Enjoy kids, and remember that April showers bring May flowers!

Lady Sensory’s Mary Contrary

2 parts Hendrick’s Gin

1 part St. Germain

1 part creme de violette

Juice of one lime

Sparkling water/club soda

Thinly sliced cucumber slices for garnish (or lime)

Chill a martini glass or fill a tall Collins glass with ice.   In a cocktail shaker mix gin, St. Germain, creme de violette, and lime juice over ice.  Stir (or shake) until well combined.  Pour in chilled martini glass, add a tiny bit of sparkling water and garnish with cukes.  Or pour over ice in the Collins glass, add sparkling water to fill to the top and stir and garnish with cukes. 

Lady Sensory’s Aviation

2 parts Hendrick’s gin

Juice of 1 small lemon

1/2 part creme de violette

1/2 part kirschwasser (cherry brandy) combined with 2 maraschino cherries and a few drops of maraschino syrup*

*If you can get your hands on maraschino liqueur, use this instead.  Interestingly, I found the creme de violette more easily than maraschino liqueur so I went with what was handy… and it worked.

Lemon twist and maraschino cherries for garnish

Chill a martini glass.  In a cocktail shaker over ice, combine the gin, creme de violette, cherry brandy/syrup and lemon juice. Stir or shake well.  Pour into martini glass and garnish with two cherries and a lemon twist on a cocktail pick.

Cheshire is located directly above Solera Wine Bar at 647 South Avenue, in Rochester, New York.  Cheshire is only open Friday and Saturday nights right now, but Solera is open Monday through Saturday.  Lux is conveniently located across the street at 666 South Avenue.  They have a variety of themed bar nights, an outdoor patio, and artwork on display.  They also have Phil.  I recommend hitting both establishments, whenever possible.

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