In honor of January 17, the day that Prohibition went into effect, we thought that we would review an old timey liqueur that was recently revived. Creme Yvette was originally conceived by the Sheffield Company of Connecticut in the 1800’s and purchased by Charles Jacquin et Cie in the 1930’s. I wish I could tell you more about the Sheffield Company but there wasn’t much out there and given the timing of the sale to Charles Jacquin et Cie, one of the oldest liqueur companies in the United States, I would guess that they didn’t fair well during Prohibition.
Charles Jacquin et Cie continued to produce Creme de Yvette until 1969 when it was finally discontinued due to it’s waning popularity. Unlike now, pre-Prohibition era drinks weren’t too popular during post-World War II America and I can’t imagine that liqueurs like Creme Yvette sold too well. I can’t see members of the “Greatest Generation” as they are known throwing back Aviations or Blue Moons. Take a look at Mad Men, they liked high-octane cocktails, like Martinis with little to no Vermouth and Whiskey Manhattans. Thanks to the resurgent popularity of old time cocktails, the grandson of the man that purchased the Creme Yvette recipe brought it back. Although, he had the recipe, it took some time and effort to track now new purveyors.
Creme Yvette is an off-shoot of the better known Creme de Violette liqueur. Like Creme de Violette, Creme Yvette is a liqueur whose main ingredient is macerated violets (the violets come from Provence). But, unlike Creme de Violette, the Creme Yvette also blends in raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, vanilla and a blend of other proprietary ingredients that given Creme Yvette more complexity then the Creme de Violette.
The Creme Yvette is a medium ruby color with purple hues. On the nose, the liqueur has a sweet, moderate intensity of violets, raspberry, strawberry, vanilla and alcohol. On the palate, the Creme Yvette has a viscous, yet not syrupy mouth feel, medium plus body (given that it’s a liqueur, you would expect more) and a medium plus flavor intensity of violets, dried rose, raspberry, strawberry, vanilla and an almost grapey quality. Medium plus finish. Very good liqueur.
Give this elegant liqueur a try. I would recommend it in a Champagne cocktail or a Delft Blue.