For those of you who don’t know me, I am relentlessly, unapologetically, a Jane Austen fan. I’ve seen the movies, I’ve read the books, I have my running list of favorite actors for various roles (and it’s one of the few times I will stand behind Gwyneth Paltrow, even though I find her trying in pretty much every other aspect of life). I don’t dress up in Regency-era clothing for fancy teas, but that’s mainly because I am crap at sewing and any costume I would try to make would look like Jane Austen’s ghost arose from its grave to mug me. Besides, you can only embody so many affectations before you slip from weird-but-likes-stuff to borderline personality disorder, and my Francophilia takes up a lot of my time.
But I digress.
Thanks to my JA fangirldom, I had to…had to…buy a copy of the cocktail recipe book Gin Austen: 50 Cocktails to Celebrate the Novels of Jane Austen, by Colleen Mullaney.
It’s a charming book. Nice thick pages, good cover design. Cocktails are generally elegant (no Sex on the Beach, here), are grouped by Austen novel, and that’s kind of fun in itself. Why, for example, is the Stubborn as a Mule dedicated to Marianne Dashwood? Call a few friends, mix up a cocktail, meet on Zoom and discuss! This isn’t only an avenue for fun debate, it’s got the potential to become a brand new drinking game with you and all your nerdy fangirl friends!
OK. It can become a drinking game for ME and all my nerdy… Moving on.
Tucked inside the chapter dedicated to Pride and Prejudice is this beautiful drink. The Gin & Bennet is mysteriously dedicated to Mrs. Bennet, who is kind of shrill. If I were writing a drink recipe for her it would likely involve tequila shots and fire, and I think the reason this cocktail is for Mrs. B— is because, despite all its frippery floweriness, it will MESS YOU UP.
Here’s what you do. This recipe is for one cocktail, and it’s easily doubled for two.
- 1 1/2 oz. gin
- 1/2 oz. creme de violette
- 1/2 oz. lemon juice
- sparkling wine
- edible flowers for garnish (though a lemon twist will work nicely if you don’t have flowers handy)
Go out in your yard–as long as you’re not foraging off some crazy lawn chemical lawn–and harvest some violets. They are totally edible and a little peppery. Rinse them off, blot them with a towel and leave them on the towel to dry.
Get a champagne coupe. Fill the glass with ice and a little water to get it nice and chilled.
Put gin, creme de violette and lemon juice in a shaker with ice. Shake for twenty seconds or so, until the outside of the shaker is good and cold. Toss the ice and water out of the coupe and strain the cocktail into your glass. Top with sparkling wine; I used dry rosé because it’s dry and it’s pink and this is possibly the girliest drink in existence (that will mess you up). Float your flowers on top.