Arsenic and Old Lace, Cocktail

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A few months ago, I saw a recipe for Arsenic and Old Lace over on on Cocktail Virgin. I was intrigued by the Creme de Violette and pastis combination. However, I didn’t really want to spend out on a bottle of each on the off-chance that it turned out to be ming in an glass.

Arsenic and Old Lace

Arsenic and Old Lace

So, during a recent visit to Graphic, I thought I would try it out with the safety-net of professional mixologist and minimal monetary investment.

Instead of going through the pain of asking for a cocktail the barman had never heard of and then jumping through the hoops of listing ingredients, I just loaded up the page from Cocktail Virgin on my phone and handed it over. It showed the following recipe…

Arsenic and Old Lace

  • 1 1/2oz gin
  • 1/2oz pastis
  • 1/2oz creme de violette
  • 1/4oz dry vermouth

Method: mix over ice, stir, strain and serve.

There were a few raised eyebrows (especially at the quantity of pastis) and another punter took some interest, but in short-order I was presented with a strangely purply-green drink with a slight haze to it. It reminded me very much of gemstone-quality tourmaline. The gin used was Beefeater 24 again.

The barman had a little taste, declared it okay, and expressed a preference for an Aviation (that was next on my list, but needing to catch the last train of the night, I didn’t get time).

In all fairness, the gin was a little lost, but the balance between the pastis and creme de violette was spot-on. It was like the liquid after-taste of parma violets and aniseed balls long after eating them; very gentle and neither flavour dominating the other.

This was very nice to try, but I probably wouldn’t go out and buy the ingredients just to replicate this at home. If I had the ingredients in though, I would certainly make it occasionally.

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