I had my first Water Lily in South Bend, Indiana, at the Render Kitchen & Bar and I have been making them ever since. This cocktail captures your attention immediately because of its lovely lavender color and because it is often garnished with edible flowers — as was my first one at Render.
The Water Lily is more than just a pretty face, however. It is aromatic, subtle, flowery and refreshing, thanks to a lovely intermingling of citrus, gin, and crème de violette. The fourth ingredient, Cointreau, serves to offset the tartness of the lemon and to complement the crème de violette, bringing the whole mélange into harmony.
Gin is, of course, the backbone of this drink, but it must be a gin that knows how to play nice with others. Tanquerey has, to my mind, a bit too much personality for this drink, whereas Hendrick’s is too soft and subtle. Curiously, the gins that seem to work best here are solid, middle-of-the-road gins. Render used Beefeater, which worked nicely, and I often use Gordon’s, which also does the trick.
For beginning bartenders, this drink is easy to mix while making a splash with your guests. With equal parts of its four ingredients, it is hard to mess up and will soon become a staple in your repertoire.
- 1 part gin (Beefeater or Gordon’s)
- 1 part crème de violette (I like Giffard best)
- 1 part Cointreau
- 1 part lemon juice
Pour all four ingredients together into a mixing glass with ice. Stir vigorously for at least a half minute and then strain into a coupe.
Garnish with edible flowers or a lemon peel.