August 9, 2009

"And now the purple dusk of twilight time steals across the meadows of my heart..."

With that line, Hoagy Carmichael set the scene for his most memorable (and often undeservedly mocked) song, "Stardust." While the prose may seem a little purple by today's standards (pun intended), it's still a beautiful song, especially when it's performed by someone who can sell it. So, start this video playing and listen to the song as you read the rest of this entry about one of my new favorite cocktails.

I stumbled across this drink while reading one of the many mixology blogs I peruse. That blog got it, in turn, from Tales of the Cocktail's 2008 session, and it was the namesake drink of The Violet Hour, a cocktail lounge in Chicago that I really need to visit on my next trip down there. It's based on a Manhattan, but it makes a couple changeups that really take it to a new level.
The Violet Hour

2 oz bourbon (I used Bulleit and did not regret it)
3/4 oz sweet vermouth (Noilly Prat for me)
1/4 oz dry vermouth (Noilly Prat again, though I've heard Cinzano is good, as well)
1/8 oz (or more, to taste) Cruzan Black Strap rum
3 dashes bitters (Fee Brothers if you can get it, otherwise Angostura works)

Shake all with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass
It starts off like a Manhattan or a Brooklyn, the bourbon and vermouth really dominating, but then, as you swallow, there's the terrific molasses and spice notes from the rum, even though there's only a tiny bit in there. It really makes for a great drink, and would likely do even better come autumn or winter. In fact, when the weather starts to cool in October, I think I'll remake this, but in lieu of the bitters, I'll add just a scant 1/8 oz of maple syrup, while halving the sweet vermouth. That, I think, will make for a really interesting drink.

And with that, I leave you to sip this cocktail, steeped in the classic tradition, and listen to, as Hoagy said, "the music of the years gone by," even if it was never composed, and exists only in your memory.

The Violet Hour


  1. Hoagy wrote the music but Mitchell Parrish wrote the lyrics. :)

  2. It's actually Parish, but good catch on the lyricist.