The Violet Thistle

When I started this Burns Night project, I really had in my mind that I wanted some sort of “Thistle” cocktail because the thistle is one of Scotland’s national emblems.  Of course, I figured that it should be the same blue/purple-ish color. The flavor needed to be different from the other signature cocktail, the Red Rose of Scotland, which features Drambuie.  This would also be a great opportunity to showcase The Botanist gin, which is distilled by Bruichladdich distillers in Scotland on the Isle of Islay.  With all these “requirements”, I set out on my search, which was unsurprisingly unsuccessful.

Without any real place to start from, I recalled the recipe for the Aviation, which contains gin, maraschino liqueur, crème de violette, and lemon juice.  I made a number of subtractions, additions, and modifications – and threw more than a few drinks out – before I got this one right.  As, I have said before, I do believe that almost every combination of drink has been created in some form, at some time – and, indeed, it turns out, that this drink is similar to a Blue 88.

Violet Thistle

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Credit: Anchor Distilling


  • ¾ oz. lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. Tempus Fugit Liqueur de Violette
  • ¾ oz. elderflower liqueur
  • 2 oz. Botanist Gin


  1. Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add ice.
  3. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass or a double old-fashioned with ice.


This cocktail is also on the sweet side, but I think it appeals to a wide variety of palates.  The elderflower liqueur was the last modification I made to the recipe.  Initially, I was very concerned that the floral flavor would dominate the overall taste, but the gin really does a good job of toning the flavors down.  You get a hint of both liqueurs that is quite appealing.  It does highlight the flavor of your gin – so feel free to use your favorite gin on this one.  And, for those who think they don’t like gin (or, at least not yet), this is a good one to start with.

One thing about this particular liqueur (Tempus Fugit Liqueur de Violette) is that it is different than Crème de Violette.  My guess, based on the description from the distiller, is that you would get more of the elderflower flavor by using Creme de Violette, but I haven’t tried it.  While this isn’t a bad thing, it will just taste different than this mixture.



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