Water Lily

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Cocktail History

The Water Lily is a modern cocktail that was created in 2007 by Richard Boccato at Little Branch in New York City, New York. It’s a variation of the classic Corpse Reviver No. 2 that has similar specifications, but this one swaps out Lillet Blanc for créme de violette and omits the absinthe altogether. The result is unique in its dry taste and striking appearance, especially thanks to its faint purple color.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Gin: This is a spirit made with juniper berries, botanicals, and alcohol. We used Castle & Key Distillery Roots of Ruin Gin because it has a smooth botanical flavor with notes of lemon verbena, ginger, citrus, chamomile, angelica, and rosemary. For a mocktail version of this drink, try MONDAY Zero Alcohol Gin in place of the gin.

Triple Sec: This is a liqueur made with bitter oranges, lemons, sugar, and alcohol. We used Cointreau because it’s one of the highest quality orange liqueurs on the market. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Lyre’s Orange Sec Non-Alcoholic Spirit in place of the orange liqueur.

Crème De Violette: This is a liqueur made with violets, sugar, and alcohol. We used Rothman & Winter Crème De Violette Liqueur because it’s made with a brandy base and no added vanilla or other fruit flavors, making it a true violet liqueur. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Monin Premium Violet Syrup in place of the violet liqueur.

Lemon Juice: This is the liquid juice of a lemon. We used freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Orange Peel: This the peel of an orange that has been cut into a strip.

Bartending Tools

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following bar tools:

Jigger: This is used to measure and pour ingredients. We used the Japanese jigger from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Boston Shaker: This is used to shake ingredients. We used the Boston shaker from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Hawthorne Strainer: This is used to strain out ice and solid ingredients after the cocktail is shaken. We used the A Bar Above Hawthorne Strainer.

Paring Knife: This is used to cut ingredients. We used the OXO Good Grips 3.5 Inch Paring Knife.

Juicer: This is used to juice citrus. We used the ALEEHAI Manual Fruit Juicer.

Peeler: This is used to remove the garnish peel from the citrus. We used the OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Peeler Set.

Tasting Notes

The Water Lily begins with bright citrus aromas and tastes of gin’s botanicals and tart orange at first before moving into a darker floral note and ending with a combination of orange and dry gin.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: We’ll admit, we both expected this recipe to taste pretty similar to an Aviation, just sans the sweet cherry flavor, but it was much drier and not nearly as floral as we thought it would be. Thanks to its equal-part measurements, the Water Lily is well-balanced and does a great job of highlighting gin’s flavor without it or any other ingredient being too overwhelming. Overall, we both enjoyed this one, Alex even more so than the Aviation and Kendall at least as much.

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Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“The first sip of this cocktail took me by surprise because my brain was incorrectly expecting something more akin to an Aviation with a sweet, bright Luxardo note. This obviously did not have that. Instead, this fairly dry cocktail features the gin botanicals, violet floral notes, and citrus note of the aforementioned recipe but with a dry orange note instead of overwhelming sweetness. Even though I wasn’t super fond of this on that first sip, the second, third, and so on got better and better, and I appreciated the cocktail for what it was supposed to be rather than what it reminded me of.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“This recipe was an interesting find for spring! Despite it being a purple drink thanks to the crème de violette, the Water Lily is not very floral at all like I expected it to be. I found it very citrus forward, resulting in a taste that was a little too tangy, in my opinion, but I did enjoy how well-balanced the drink was compared to the Aviation. I don’t know that I would request it again, but I’m glad we found another use for our violet liqueur.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from The PDT Cocktail Book: The Complete Bartender’s Guide from the Celebrated Speakeasy by Jim Meehan.

AuthorThe PDT Cocktail Book

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

Ingredients
 ¾ oz Gin
 ¾ oz Triple Sec
 ¾ oz Créme De Violette
 ¾ oz Lemon Juice
 1 Orange Peel

Method
1

Add gin, triple sec, crème de violette, lemon juice, and cubed ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with orange peel.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 ¾ oz Gin
 ¾ oz Triple Sec
 ¾ oz Créme De Violette
 ¾ oz Lemon Juice
 1 Orange Peel

Directions

Method
1

Add gin, triple sec, crème de violette, lemon juice, and cubed ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with orange peel.

Water Lily

Make It a Mocktail: Use MONDAY Zero Alcohol Gin in place of the gin, Lyre’s Orange Sec Non-Alcoholic Spirit in place of the orange liqueur, and Monin Premium Violet Syrup in place of the violet liqueur to try a booze-free version of this drink.

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More Spring Cocktails

If you like this spring-inspired cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Mountaintop Meadow Cocktail Recipe

Mountaintop Meadow: A vodka cocktail made with elderflower liqueur, simple syrup, lavender bitters, dry sparkling wine, a pineapple wedge, and mint

The Cherry Blossom Cocktail Recipe

The Cherry Blossom: A sake and gin cocktail made with maraschino liqueur, grenadine, triple sec, lemon juice, and a cherry

Tequila Honeysuckle Cocktail Recipe

Tequila Honeysuckle: A tequila cocktail made with honey syrup, lime juice, and a lime slice

Lavender Sour Cocktail Recipe

Lavender Sour: A gin cocktail made with lemon juice, Green Chartreuse, lavender syrup, egg white, and dried lavender buds

This post contains affiliate links, meaning we make a small commission each time you purchase a product using our links. Product images sourced from Amazon Product Advertising API. Amazon affiliate links last updated on 2024-05-22.

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