Water Lily

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Cocktail History

The Water Lily is a gin cocktail that was created by Richard Boccato in 2007 while at Little Branch in New York City, New York and included in The PDT Cocktail Book: The Complete Bartender’s Guide from the Celebrated Speakeasy by Jim Meehan. It’s a variation of the classic Corpse Reviver No. 2 that has similar specifications but swaps out Lillet Blanc for créme de violette and omits the absinthe altogether to create a drink that is unique in its dry taste and striking in its purple color.

Cocktail Ingredients

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

Gin: This is the base spirit. We went with Castle & Key Distillery’s Roots of Ruin Gin because it’s a smooth gin with notes of lemon verbena, ginger, citrus, chamomile, angelica, rosemary, and juniper.

Triple Sec: This is an orange liqueur. It adds sweet citrus flavors that balance out the other dry ingredients. We went with Cointreau because it’s one of the highest quality triple secs on the market.

Crème De Violette: This is a purple floral liqueur. We used Rothman & Winter Crème De Violette Liqueur because theirs is made using a brandy base and no added vanilla or other fruit flavors, making it a true violet liqueur.

Lemon Juice: This adds sour citrus flavors that balance out the other ingredients. We prefer to use fresh citrus juice because it’s less bitter than the bottled stuff and tastes better.

Orange Peel: This is the garnish. It adds fresh citrus aroma and flavor when dropped into the drink.

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 drink 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.

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 BookPrep Time5 minsRating

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 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 ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with orange peel.

Water Lily

Tools & Glassware We Recommend

More Spring Cocktails

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

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

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

 The Parasol: A sparkling wine cocktail made with lemon juice, Lillet Blanc, elderflower liqueur, honey syrup, and a lemon twist

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

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