Crème de Violette is a French liqueur made with violet blossoms. It is a key ingredient in popular cocktails like the Aviation.
It can be difficult to get hold of, so you may find yourself needing an alternative to Crème de Violette.
So, let’s talk about some great alternatives that you can use instead.
The best substitutes for Crème de Violette are: Crème Yvette, Parfait d’Amour, Crème de Cassis and Violet Gin. Use violet syrup for an alcohol-free alternative to Crème de Violette.
What is Crème de Violette?
Crème de Violette is a French liqueur made from a combination of violets and a brandy or spirit base.
It can be made with natural or artificial violet flower flavoring.
If you notice a difference in price between Crème de Violettes, it is usually due to a difference in the quality of ingredients.
Lower-priced/cheap Crème de Violette is most likely made using artificial flavorings.
Expensive liqueurs, in general, are usually made from high quality, natural ingredients.
Crème de Violette is violet/purple in color, with floral aromas and flavors of violet blossoms and has a sweet finish.
It can be served as an after-dinner liqueur and is a popular ingredient in cocktails, like the Aviation and the Blue Moon.
Crème de Violette alcohol levels
The alcohol levels of Crème de Violette can vary.
In my research, I found Crème de Violette from 15-20% ABV.
The lowest ABV that I could find was l’Heritier-Guyot at 15%.
Drillaud and Gabriel Boulder are 18% ABV.
Rothman and Winter is 20% ABV.
Crème de Violette substitutes
Crème Yvette is a liqueur made with violets, making it one of the best substitutes for Crème de Violette.
It is made from violet petals, blackberries, red raspberries, strawberries, cassis, orange peel, honey and vanilla.
This berry-flavored liqueur has a sweet, floral flavor that is similar to Creme de Violette.
Most drinks requiring Crème de Violette can be substituted with Crème Yvette.
Parfait d’amour is another violet liqueur. It is often used in cocktails primarily for its purple color and is usually created from a curaçao liqueur base.
There are different versions of Parfait d’Amour and not all are made using violets. So, check the ingredients and flavor profile before you buy.
Bols Parfait d’amour is a blend of roses and violets with orange peel extract and is made with natural botanicals. It is purple in color, and it makes another excellent substitute for Crème de Violette.
Crème de Cassis
The main ingredient or flavor of Crème de Cassis is blackcurrant. It is made from crushed blackcurrants soaked in alcohol, with added sugar.
Crème de Cassis can be a good substitute for Crème de Violette, as it has a similar flavor profile – both have a sweet, fruity flavor.
It is, however, a different color to Crème de Violette – dark red rather than the purple/blue hue of Crème de Violette.
Violet syrup is an excellent non-alcoholic alternative to Crème de Violette.
You will achieve the sweet violet flavor without the alcohol. It’s easy to find and there are many brands to choose from, like Monin.
To make a homemade violet simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add a few sprigs of fresh violets and reduce the heat to low.
Simmer for 15 minutes, stir occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Strain the syrup and allow to cool.
Add a dash of Brandy or a neutral spirit to your cocktail, like vodka, for a more accurate alcoholic Crème de Violette substitute.
If you want to make the Aviation cocktail and you don’t have Crème de Violette, but you really want it to have the blue/purple hue to it, then violet gin can be added to give it a violet hue.
Tips for substituting cocktail ingredients
Substituting ingredients in cocktails is an art and a science.
Taste is subjective, so what one person enjoys another may not. That said, here are some practical tips for making substitutions in cocktails.
Alternative ingredients should have as similar a flavor profile as possible. So, look for an alternative with the same basic flavors as the original ingredient.
You may need to adjust the sweetness levels of your cocktail if the substitute you use has different sweetness levels.
If it is less sweet than the original ingredient, you may need to add some sugar syrup.
If it is sweeter than the original, you might need to add a squeeze of citrus to keep the flavors balanced.
Match alcohol content
Try to substitute with something that is the same or similar in alcohol levels.
You might need to adjust quantities to maintain the correct potency. For example, use a little less of a more potent substitute.
You may need to make adjustments if the substitute that you use changes the flavor profile of the drink.
What does Crème de Violette mean?
Crème de Violette is French and translates as “cream of violet”. This is a reference to the use of violet flowers as a key ingredient.
Is violet liqueur the same as Crème de Violette?
Crème de Violette is a violet liqueur – a floral and sweet liqueur made with violet flower aromas and flavors.
Not all violet liqueurs are the same as Crème de Violette. They look and taste similar, but different brands use different ingredients and production methods. So, they will not taste exactly the same.
Does Crème de Violette taste sweet?
Yes, Crème de Violette tastes floral and sweet.
10 Cocktails made with Crème de Violette
- The Aviation: Gin, Creme de Violette, maraschino (cherry) liqueur, and lemon juice.
- The Blue Moon: Creme de Violette, gin, with a splash of lemon juice.
- English Rose: Gin, Vermouth, Crème de Violette, Grenadine syrup and lemon juice.
- Violette Royale: Champagne with a splash of Crème de Violette.
- Lavender Limoncello: A blend of limoncello, lavender, and lemon juice.
- Violet Fizz: A cocktail made with gin, Crème de Violette, and fresh lime juice.
- Lavender Margarita: A twist on the classic margarita, made with tequila, triple sec, and a splash of Crème de Violette.
- Violet Martini: A sophisticated cocktail made with vodka, dry vermouth, and Crème de Violette.
- Violette 75: Champagne, gin, Crème de Violette and fruit juice.
- Blue Hawaiian: Vodka, rum and Crème de Violette.