By Paris Wolfe, Foodie, Traveler, Blogmaster

20160326_155718When I was in Mrs. Roberts’s fourth grade history class at Saint Mary School I fantasized about living in “the olden days.” No electricity. No running water. Living off the land. Hunting and gathering.

I’ve maintained an adapted version of that fantasy; the gathering has been elevated to foodie status and is known as “foraging.”

Last year my gathering basket included the little, wild violets that invade my parent’s yard from March to June. Yes, the little purple petals can be pests in a culture of chemically cultivated homogenous grass. Fortunately, my parents’ grass is organic, so I know the creekside cuties are safe. And, because I have permission, I’m not poaching.

What’s grownup about violets? I made crème de violette, a sweet, violet -infused liqueur and the star ingredient in The Aviation cocktail. It may be called crème, but that refers to the mouthfeel not a dairy product. The floral notes are fabulous. The liqueur is both girly and sophisticated.

I’ve fulfilled my childhood fantasy with a grownup twist constructing cocktail components from foraged foods.

Crème de Violette

20160329_1815061 cup violets blossoms

1 cup vodka, (I like Seven Brothers for its local connection)

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup water

Food coloring, if desired

Place violets in a pint mason jar. Pour vodka over. Allow to infuse until color almost bleaches from violets, about two to three days. Strain through a coffee filter-lined sieve.

In a heavy saucepan, heat water and sugar until sugar dissolves. Cool this simple syrup.

Add simple syrup to infused vodka. Store in refrigerator.

NOTE: The light lavender color will fade over a week’s time. Food coloring is the only way to keep it vibrant. Even the professional manufacturers use it.