Violet Eyes

Derek Brown, Columbia Room | Washington, D.C.

To explore the overlap between the worlds of drinks and music, we challenged bartenders to translate a song of their choice from a given era into cocktail form. Here, Derek Brown takes on grunge.

In creating this drink, Brown explains: “Violet Eyes is inspired by the Meat Puppets’ song of the same name…. I might have taken the easy route here and chosen the literal over the conceptual [by] using violet honey, [which] melds well with the floral characteristics of Singani … and burning a rose bud, which is taken directory from a lyric in the song: Plastic master, smoke drifts from a rose.

“I suppose the one conceptual aspect is that the song itself feels very layered and bit more polished than some of the Meat Puppets’ other, more raw-sounding songs. The cocktail is also very layered and takes a spirit that can feel a little raw at times … and renders it as elegant.”


Serving: 1

  • 1 1/4 ounce singani, preferably Rujero
  • 1/2 ounce grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce orange Curaçao
  • 1/2 ounce violet honey (see Editor's Note)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 dash salt tincture

Garnish: dried rose bud, lightly singed with a kitchen torch

  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing tin and shake with ice.
  2. Strain into a chilled coupe.
  3. Garnish with a dried, singed rose bud.
Editor's Note

Violet Honey Syrup:
1/2 cup fresh violet petals, rinsed and dried
1 cup honey
1/2 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until nearly boiling. Let cool, then bottle the honey in a covered container and allow it to infuse with the violets overnight. Strain the solids and store the syrup in a covered jar.