I’m a huge fan of Crème de Violette ever since I discovered it in my local liquor store and I’m always looking for excuses to make a cocktail with it. I’m also a huge fan of high quality flavored vodkas and any small batch distilled spirits, and I ran across a brand called Hangar One vodka while on vacation. I bought myself their Kaffir Lime vodka, which now seems to be called Makrut Lime which I think is the same thing since makrut is another name for the same plant, probably changed due to racist connotations, although they now show a picture of the fruit on the bottle and not the leaf so the flavor may be different. In any case, kaffir lime leaves are the ingredient you find in the best Thai food such as tom yum soup. As a flavoring for vodka, it’s a bit intense: spicy, aromatic, with a slightly bitter aftertaste. I kept trying it in my favorite cocktail recipes, but nothing clicked, and in fact some were downright awful. Then I was looking at variations on the The Aviation, which is a WWI era cocktail made with gin and Crème de Violette and I became inspired. However, I was out of Crème de Violette at the time, but with some experimentation I found that Chambord worked really well with it’s smooth chocolatey texture. And thus my very peculiar variation on The Aviation that I call “Flight to Bangkok” was born!
Update: I’ve tried it again and played around a lot with variations that are more similar to the original Aviation recipe that used lemon, Crème de Violette or Crème de Yvette and Luxardo maraschino liqueur. The only thing I changed was the gin to kaffir lime infused vodka, which I made myself this time. I’ve found that the lemon makes it more tart, but overall it’s much sweeter, although it depends on the particular recipe that you follow. I’ve found recipes that show combinations of ¼ to ¾ of each of the 3 main flavor ingredients in all possible combinations, and tried many of them with surprising dramatic differences, so rather than list them all here, use your instincts and try your own variations! However, my original variation below turned out the best IMHO so try that one first – I think you’ll like it!
1 ½ oz. Hangar 1 Makrut Lime vodka (or kaffir lime infused vodka)
¾ oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
¾ oz. Chambord
Shake with ice, strain, serve in martini glass with lime wheel