by Peter Barradine March 02, 2022 3 min read

Love it or Loathe it? Parma Violet Gin

The flavour of parma violet gin is an interesting and ever growing trend, more and more people are now turning to this bright and bold drink. It is also a very interesting trend; as a child you often found yourself burdened with those floral nasties and trying to unload them onto someone else. Maybe it’s just me? They would definitely be in my food hell if I were to appear on Saturday Kitchen. But there must be something in it that people love. And in an endeavour to open my eyes to its floral flavour I dedicated this week’s blog to it.

What really is parma violet? Well of course it is a plant, a more exotic version of your standard violet! They were first cultivated in Italy in the 16th century and were derived from crossing two different varieties of violet. It is believed that there are two strains of parma violet, the dominant one and the other lost, romantically hidden in a garden in Italy.

How did those sweet floral flavours become so popular? The petals of this vibrant flower have a history of being used for its medicinal properties. During the 17th century they were crafted into lozenges. In the 18th century it was combined with rose water and sugar to create something called flower pastry. And in the Edwardian era they were combined with chocolate and a spirit (an early theme) to calm sickness.

What really launched the parma violet was the well known sweet, the one we love and loathe equally, manufactured by the Derbyshire company Swizzles. Here are some interesting facts about Parma Violets; in 2016 they were used to create a cheese. They were also the favourite sweet of James Bond’s arch enemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld. 

For those of you parma violet fanatics, now is your time! There have been some outstanding gins that have reached the market; and they don’t come much better than this! Boe Violet Gin is produced in the village of Throsk, near Stirling in small batches. Their master distiller takes a range of the finest botanicals and spices to create bold and intensely flavoured gins. 

This award winning distillery has taken their classic London Dry Gin and infused it with the petals from violets. This gives the gin light floral notes and a beautiful purple colour. The perfect gin for sipping on warm summer evenings. 

The flavours of violet may be perceived as being a tricky one to pair mixers with, but in fact it works really well in a range of different drinks. You could try it with the classic Indian tonic water, and it is really delicious when mixed with rose lemonade. But where it really comes into its own is in an Aviation cocktail. 

Aviation Cocktail - SplitsDrinks

The Aviation has all the classic elements of a gin sour but with the addition of, you guessed it, violet and maraschino liqueur. This is all balanced with lemon juice. For this version we shall be using parma violet gin instead of the liqueur.

Shake all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Fine strain into a chilled coupe/martini glass and garnish with a Maraschino Cherry. 

As always, we love to see your creations so please tag us in any of your purchases or cocktails on social media or drop us a message for some more cocktail suggestions!


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