Thanks to Valentine’s, February puts love on the brain. Whatever your
status—single, partnered, married—I’m betting you’ve got an
opinion on love. Does perfect love exist outside of fairy tales? It does, but
not outside a liqueur bottle. And yes, it’s a little bit sickly sweet,
although it’s surprisingly pleasant.
Parfait Amour (“perfect love”) is a little-known and very old-fashioned
French liqueur, fashioned by a few companies but only available in Alberta
from the brand Marie Brizard. It has an orange liqueur base layered with
floral, vanilla and almond flavours, but the first thing you will notice when
you see the bottle is the liqueur’s colour—over the top,
super-demonstrative purple, which has the unfortunate side effect of muddying
most drinks it is added to, turning everything to dishwater grey. Please
don’t consider this a metaphor for love. If it is, I can’t figure it out, so
I’m not going to try.
If you’re into sweetness, then Parfait Amour’s first scent impression is
lovely. It smells like eating creamsicles in a flower shop. It’s even quite
pleasant tasted neat. Perhaps it’s because of its colour, but to me it tastes
like grown-up Kool-Aid, like how I wanted my drinks to taste when I was a
freshly-minted, 18-year-old drinker. I’m not saying this in a bad way. It’s
sweet but charming. It tastes a little orangey, a little flowery, and a lot
like marshmallows. Not surprisingly, Parfait Amour was invented for and
mostly consumed by women at its inception in the early 1800s.
While inoffensive on its own, Parfait Amour is too sweet to swill straight
for more than a couple sips, and it’s so distinctive that too much of it
dominates a drink, so it performs best as a background cocktail support.
Don’t worry, though. A liqueur this purple makes its voice heard no matter
what when slipped into a drink. This is not a demure liqueur, and it takes a
sparing hand when it comes to mixing. In cocktails, as in life, Parfait Amour
requires a certain amount of discretion. A whisper added to an otherwise
standard cocktail might be all you need to add some intrigue. Try the Jupiter
cocktail, which is essentially a martini with some orangey sweetness added.
If you really want something purple, try the Stardust. Parfait Amour is more
assertive in this drink than in the Jupiter, but a generous amount of rum and
a good slug of lemon juice cut out some sweetness and allow you to savour the
flavour of this fascinating liqueur.
Parfait Amour can help you slip some sweetness into the everyday, but don’t
let it take over. A little goes a long way, but it’s a good idea to have some
around. You never know when you might need some love. V
2 oz white rum
1 oz Parfait Amour
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
Combine over ice in a cocktail shaker, shake, then strain into a chilled
cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon.
1 1/2 oz gin
3/4 oz dry vermouth
1 tsp Parfait Amour
1 tsp orange juice
Combine all ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker, shake, then strain
into a chilled cocktail glass.