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.


9 replies on “Violets for your furs”

  1. Cheers, Pink Lady! I’d love a visit to Boston anyway, and the Violette and friendly company would make it even sweeter.

    Should you find yourself in the wilds of western Pennsylvania, give a holler too. We might not be able to make the most exotic of cocktails, but whatever we can devise will be tasty.

  2. You can indeed special order Creme de violette from the PLCB. It’s in their online catalog (not the one for consumers, the other one).

    3 bottle minimum. I’ve never ordered it because of that.

  3. Peterb,

    First: Hooray that it can be ordered!

    Second: Boo on the three bottle minimum!! I should expect that, though, from a state that wants me to buy a case of beer instead of a six-pack.

    But third: So that’s one bottle for you, one for me, and then we just need to find someone else in the area who wants to mix up some Attention Cocktails or Aviations. Surely someone will seize this opportunity….

    Then we just have to argue about who’s going to take on the ordeal of placing the special order.

  4. If you will assume the ordeal of placing the special order, I will guarantee you a taker for the third bottle (a friend of mine already volunteered to me privately)

  5. Curses! Foiled again!

    Now I have to assume there’s a conspiracy. All my rabble-rousing on the internets has put the PLCB on guard, and as soon as they discovered what it is that I really want, they took it away. Evil.

    I will attempt to place the special order anyway. And you can bet that I will report back here on the results.

  6. That’s odd – it is gone from the PCLB search site. I’ve sent a note to Rhonda (contact detail below).

    Take note that the minimum is for a mix of products (it should read min/mix) from the Alpenz line, not of one item. This is necessary b/c the minimum shipping cost (w/control state handling) is just over $30. We realize this is a burden for someone wanting just one bottle, but we wanted the products reasonably priced for on-premise use. We’ll get the Allspice Dram and Velvet Falernum special-order listed soon.

    Rhonda L Roberto
    PA Liquor Control Board
    Bureau of Product Management
    Special Purchases Section
    1-800-332-7522 , Option # 1

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