The violets have grown in profusion this year and though the ones growing in the garden are nearly over, there are still some in the fields particularly the verge in Great Forest. But they are next to a bridleway. A bridleway that is much used by walkers and their dogs. As I never pick a blackberry lower than the height a Labrador can lift its leg, you’ll realise why I’m reluctant to pick low growing flowers. I think they’ll stay for everyone to enjoy.
It was lovely to have little vases of violets throughout the house, crystallised violets on cakes and violet liqueur to drink. I suspect that the violet liqueur is sweeter and not quite as intense as commercial bottles but I made it sweet because I’m going to drink it in cocktails and it saves adding sugar syrup. If you make some, you may want to reduce the sugar and if you have the quantity available (and patience) you might increase the ratio of flowers to liquid. The flowers should be picked when they’re dry and the stems removed. I used a pestle and mortar to mix the sugar and flowers in one batch, which made a wonderful purple sugar. Will you use vodka or gin? I tried both but don’t have a particular preference. The violets add an extra dimension to the gin and should make excellent cocktails; the vodka was good in the violet icing for Easter fairy cakes.