If you’ve been paying attention to the colour of the back bar in your local pub, or the microtrends of #ginstagram, you might have noticed something peculiar. Gin has turned purple. Or, more precisely, violet.
Coloured gins are having a moment, the latest phase in the great craft gin revival. You can now choose from a whole spectrum, including pink grapefruit gin, Amalfi lemon gin the colour of a pale sunrise, bitter orange gin like alcoholic marmalade and lavender gins that change colour on contact with tonic. But the most popular is violet.
Violets grow like weeds, pretty much everywhere. The sweet, perfumed kind, Viola odorata, is a southern French speciality, while the parma violet, Viola alba, was first cultivated in Italy in the 16th century. The taste is natural, but tastes unnatural, a bit like biting off a shard of rainbow or licking a My Little Pony. You might associate it with grandmothers, soap or those cheap Parma Violet sweets made by Swizzles of Derbyshire, which occasionally turned up in 1980s party bags.