March 25, 2015 by kristin
I’m fond of violet-scented things, so in my manuscript set in the Civil War, I used violet water as my main character’s signature scent. I wanted to make some violet water myself, so that I’d be able to properly describe it, and did all the requisite googling. But then I got sidetracked by one thing or another, and the violet water never happened.
Now I’m working on a novel set in 1931 New Orleans and have no particular use for detailed knowledge of violet water. But violets are popping up all over my back yard, and yesterday evening, I found myself out there with my two little girls in the beautiful early spring (aka, not sweltering) Alabama weather. Flower-picking for a purpose seemed a perfect way to entertain them, and stop them from dumping sand out of the sand box.
After a little while of frenzied picking, we had a pretty bouquet of violets.
I’m merging two or three different recipes for violet water, so we probably didn’t gather enough violets, and we might need a different kind of violets, and maybe we should’ve poured alcohol on them instead of boiling water, or maybe not. Thanks, Internet, for being so confusing.
I will not be at all surprised if this turns out to be a failed attempt at violet water. So far, the solution (which is supposed to steep another two days in the fridge) is only vaguely violet-y in color and smells mostly like decaying plant matter at the bottom of a vase, so I’m not feeling too hopeful.
After a couple of days, I’m supposed to strain out the violets, pour in some gin or brandy or vodka, depending on which recipe I follow, and voila! Violet water! Or Bog of Eternal Stench. We shall see. Fingers crossed two days in the fridge works a miracle!
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