Tag Archives: creme de violette

All of this took less time than it took me to explain to a clerk at a PLCB “Premium Spirits” store what Armagnac was.

Peterb of Tea Leaves finds the mecca of quality liquor. It’s in Kansas City.

Actually, I’m confident that it’s just anywhere outside of the borders of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

To catch you up on the latest developments in my on-going saga to purchase creme de violette: I sent an email to the special order people of the PLCB and asked if I could order three bottles (the minimum order Peterb mentioned) of Creme de violette, even though it was not listed in the special order database. Within a few hours, I got a phone call from a nice-sounding young lady, checking the details of my order, finding out which retail store the order should be shipped to, and taking a credit card number for the deposit. A slow process, but not altogether painful. I rejoiced briefly and prepared to wait.

A few days later I got another call from the nice-sounding young lady. This time she was apologetic. "I’m sorry, but our distributor says they don’t have any creme de violette and they don’t know when they are going to get any."

Seeing no other option, I said, "OK."

Yesterday, when Peter Twittered that he was in a fabled land where the unobtainable could be obtained, I asked if creme de violette was available. It was, and I rejoice again. 

Violets for your furs


Violets, originally uploaded by Il conte di Luna.

There’s an interesting discussion going on in the comments from my post on Monday about the question of privatizing the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. Do take a look and chime in with your views.

In the meantime, I want to add an example of what frustrates me about the PLCB: My inability to buy creme de violette in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Creme de violette is a violet-flavored liqueur. It’s an ingredient in various old-fashioned cocktails, where it adds a light flowery element and violet hue.

Or so I’ve read. I’ve never tasted or even seen the stuff.

I’ve asked for it at PA Wine and Spirits stores and no one I’ve spoken with has ever heard of such a thing — nor has anyone offered to help me order any. Of course it’s not listed in the PLCB retail website. It is conceivable that I can special order it, somehow, although I’m wary of the process.

To be fair, creme de violette is not available everywhere. Even famous bartenders brag about having five varieties.

But creme de violette is distributed in the United States, and it seems reasonable that I should be able to buy some. In Boston I could buy it. Or in New York. Or in California, although I guess that’s not too surprising — them hippies are crazy out there.

Is there any reason I shouldn’t be able to order a bottle over the internet, just as I can order a bouquet of actual violets? I can’t think of one. But order it I cannot.

My best options are to drive to New York and smuggle a bottle back (which is illegal — can’t bring bottles into our fair state), or to buy some flowers, pluck off their petals, and marinate them in alcohol to make my own violet liqueur.