Seasonal Drinks
Comments 17

Cocktail Matching: Impressionists and a Water Lily Cocktail

Increasingly I find myself wanting to make cocktails to go with the things I enjoy doing. Currently I’m longing for spring, squinting up at trees to see if there are any leaves sprouting and peering at crocuses in the grass. In lieu of spring itself (it’s still COLD in London), I went to see the Royal Academy’s gorgeous ‘Painting the Modern Garden’ exhibition. It’s such a beautiful collection of paintings, from Monet’s huge, mournful late waterlily works, to some bright, vivid Expressionist ‘Avant-Gardens.’


There was no photography allowed inside, but here are some images of some of my favourite paintings to try and sum the experience up. If I could live inside any exhibition, I think it would be this one – it was such a riot of colour, bursting with flowers and sunshine, yet it was serene and gentle at the same time.

I enjoyed this exhibition so much, and I wanted to make a cocktail that was colourful, fresh, and floral to go with it. Enter the very conveniently named Water Lily (thank you Saveur apparently an original recipe from PDT  in New York.  It’s very similar to an Aviation, but replaces the maraschino liqueur with Cointreau. The lemon juice and creme de violette provide the required bright, flowery quality, and the colour could just about come from Monet’s lily pond at Giverny.

Monet, Water Lilies 1914-15


3/4 oz gin
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz crème de violette
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice

Shake all ingredients over ice and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of orange. [No chrysanthemums were eaten in the making of this cocktail]




  1. Pingback: Cocktail of the week no.14: the Aviation | Coupe Half Full

  2. I, too, am a fan of a bit of Creme de Violette on occasion. Very delicate liqueur much in keeping with the art exhibition that inspired your choosing this cocktail. Brilliant presentation.

    • Thank you! I guess the colours lend themselves really well to drinks – definitely easier to match than most art exhibitions would be!

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