The Blue Devil Cocktail

Jun 1, 2017

After the excitement of last night’s Blue Blazer Cocktail, today’s Mr. Boston’s recipe seem lack luster by comparison.

I couldn’t find any history about the Blue Devil Cocktail though, there are many variations on the recipe floating around the web.

Ranging from tropical fruit juice, Rum and blue Curacao drinks to re-imaginations of the Aviation Cocktail, the Blue Devil seems to be suffering from split personality syndrome.

One blogger claimed that the Blue Devil and Aviation Cocktail are one in the same. I can see where they came to that conclusion since the ingredients in the Blue Devil and the Aviation are nearly identical. However, the Aviation Cocktail recipes I found (and tried) call for 2 dashes of Marachino Liqueur. On the other hand, Mr. Boston’s 1935 Blue Devil recipe calls for 1/4 of a Jigger!

The other difference between the two cocktails is the use of Creme de Violette verse Creme de Yvette. The Aviation Cocktail has traditionally stuck with Creme de Violette a side from a short lived switch to Creme Yvette after the Violet infused liqueur fell off the map during the U.S. Prohibition.

As we discovered, the Creme Yvette and Creme de Violette are not cut from the same cloth despite many cocktail recipes noting the two are interchangeable. Not only do the two liqueur have completely different flavor profiles, but one is blue and the other isn’t.

Creme de Violette verse Creme Yvette color comparison

Left: Creme de Violette / Right: Creme Yvette

How the Blue Devil got its name was perplexing. By the looks of the other recipes online it seems the color and the name have been confusing many mixologists.

Creme Yvette is not blue. More like a dark, purplish red. Devil’s are often depicted as red so that could work but then, why not call it the Devil Cocktail? I took to Google in search of answers and this is what I learned.

During WWI (1914 – 1918) an elite mountain infantry of the French Army were nicknamed les Diables Bleus (AKA Blue Devils). 

Known for their loose-fitting dark blue /  grey uniform; the Chasseurs Alpins (Alpine Hunters) have a tradition of replacing the word red with bleu-cerise, or cherry-blue, to describe the color of the blood on their blue uniforms. Given the color Creme Yvette adds to the Blue Devil Cocktail, I’d say the soldiers could have been the inspiration behind this drink.

Chasseurs Alpins during the Occupation of the Ruhr in Buer circa. 1923

Chasseurs Alpins (Blue Devils) during the Occupation of the Ruhr in Buer circa. 1923

It was exciting to see Creme de Yvette make it’s return to the menu in version Leo Cotton published back in 1935. I’ve become really fond of this sweet berry liqueur.

Yvette Guilbert Parisan Concert

I discovered an article linking French performer Yvette Guilbert to Creme Yvette’s moniker. Having wondered about the liqueurs moniker, I was thrilled to make this discovery. That solves one more mystery!

Unfortunately, I was not as excited about the amount of Maraschino called for in the Blue Devil Cocktail. In fact, I’d say Maraschino liqueur is one of those spirits that is an acquired taste. When we first purchased Maraschino, we both expected it would taste like a Maraschino Cherry. It’s supposed to be made from them after all. Simply put, we were sorely disappointed. I can’t find the words to accurately articulate what Maraschino liqueur tastes like. Another blogger, Roger Kamholz, expressed a same sentiment when trying to describe this spirit saying “it’s just… funky.” I couldn’t have put it any better! At least I’m not the only one 🙂

For me, the clear Italian liqueur often takes over a drink. Even in the smallest quantity. I feared a recipe using over 1/3 of an ounce would be way too much.

I decided to set this recipe further apart from the Aviation by using the lime juice suggested over lemon juice. Maybe the tartness would calm the Maraschino?

For Gin, we found a little more of our home brew hiding out and decided that might be the best fit for our Blue Devil experiment. In my humble option, a strong botanical Gin is needed to stack up next to Luxardo’s cherry distilled liqueur.

We mixed up the Blue Devil according the book: 3/4 oz Gin, 1/3 oz lemon or lime juice, 1/3 oz Maraschino and 2 dashes of Creme de Yvette shaken over ice and served in a 3 ounce cocktail glass.

As feared, the Maraschino was too heavy for us. I also found the lime juice to be too tart but Ryan didn’t notice anything other than the Maraschino. The Creme Yvette added little else but a hint of color. Such a shame!

Having the small samples of Creme Yvette and Violette set aside from the color photo above, I decided to mix them in to see if we could improve the drink.

Blue Devil Cocktail with an extra 3/8 ounce of Creme Yvette

Blue Devil Cocktail with an extra 3/8 ounce of Creme Yvette

Ryan measured out the Creme Yvette and popped it into our cocktail glass. The extra 3/8 of an ounce helped a bit and the color was more fitting of a “blue” devil. It still needed more.

Figuring anything was an improvement, I measured out the remaining 1/4 ounce of Creme de Violette and added it to the mix… So much better!  

In fact, it was down right tasty 🙂 Plus, the color was the perfect shade of reddish blue.

Blue Devil Cocktail Revamp

Having tried the “original”? and the improved version, I think the recipe we stumbled onto should become the official Blue Devil Cocktail.

If you’d like to give it ago, I posted the recipe for your tasting enjoyment here. Cheers!