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.
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.