Purple Cocktails Turn Trendy in 2018

Now that The Pantone Color Institute has named Ultra Violet the color of the year for 2018, look for mixologists to embrace the trend with deep purple drinks.

What’s significant about this color purple?

“Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now,” according to Pantone. “The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.” 

Also, purple cocktails do great on Instagram.

Many have already started with vivid lilac libations using butterfly pea tea. Made from the flowers of the butterfly pea plant, the tea works as a natural dye to color food and drinks blue; it also interacts with the pH of other components so higher-acid ingredients result in a purple beverage.

Butterfly Pea Flower Tea, from the mixologists at Reyka.

For instance, Herradura recently created a holiday cocktail with its anejo tequila, lime juice, marionberry syrup and butterfly pea flower tea. Called the Horseshoe Holi-daze, the drink is shaken and strained into a coupe glass, topped with Korbel Extra Dry and garnished with a skewered blackberry and thyme sprig.

Reyka developed a New Year’s Butterfly Pea Flower Tea Martini cocktail with its Icelandic vodka, fresh lemon juice and butterfly pea tea syrup, topped with dry Champagne. 

And The Dawson bar in Chicago uses butterfly-pea-flower-infused Reyka, Plymouth Sloe Gin, Lucky falernum, blueberry-rosemary cordial, citrus and lavender for its 1990s-themed Tripping Billies cocktail.

Casual-dining chain Eureka! has the Electric Butterfly cocktail, made with lime juice, butterfly pea tea, orgeat, Chareau aloe liqueur, white rum and Copper & Kings Immature brandy. It’s shaken and strained over a butterfly-pea-tea ice cube and garnished with pansy flower and buzz button on a bamboo skewer.

Beyond the Butterfly Pea Tea

There are other ways to color your drinks purple. Garret Richard of Slowly Shirley in New York developed the Jump Up, Jamaica cocktail with serrano-infused Wray & Nephew rum, Coruba rum, lime, grapefruit syrup, soda and house-made sorrel (a Caribbean drink made from dried sorrel or red hibiscus flowers).

Slowly Shirley’s Jim Kearns created Lawyers, Guns, and Money, a combination of Daumen Lirac red wine, Rhum Barbancourt, Pedro Ximenez sherry, port, Tempus Fugit cacao with Chuncho bitters and Hellfire habanero shrub.

Jump Up, Jamaica by Garret Richard of Slowly Shirley.

The Rye Bar at Rosewood Washington D.C., offered a summer cocktail called Berry Night, made with vodka, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, lime juice, simple syrup and lemon bitters. What makes it purple? The drink is served over an ice cube made from water, blueberries, ginger syrup and mint, causing it to transform in color as the ice melts.

Finally, Van Gogh Açai-Blueberry vodka, launched in 2007, is already a vibrant violet-colored spirit “reminiscent of the dreamy palette that tints Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ hillside,” the company says. Its Brazilian cocktail, with 2 oz. of the Acai-Blueberry vodka and 2 oz. lemonade, makes for a quick and easy purple Martini. 

Melissa Dowling is editor of Cheers magazine. Reach her at mdowling@epgmediallc.com.

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