Creme de Butterfly (Butterfly Pea Flower Liqueur)
Well yesterday I posted how to make butterfly pea flower infused vodka, but truth be told the whole reason I made that was so that I can make this butterfly pea flower liqueur, Creme de Butterfly. I love the natural color that the flowers bring, and what better way to spruce up a cocktail than with an obnoxious blue color.
This liqueur comes in at 20% and is quite sweet. Therefore it should mainly be used in cocktails or mixed drinks, although it is perfectly acceptable to drink it on its own. Some people may call something like this a cordial, or schnapps. If you like sweet alcohol then you’ll like this butterfly liqueur.
I did have trouble picking a name for this liqueur because I wanted something descriptive. I just like calling it creme de butterfly, and I’m hoping that people don’t assume the liqueur is made from crushed up butterflies. Rather, the blue pea flower is what gives it a distinct color and flavor. After all the whole point of this homemade liqueur is for my cocktail, Nautilus. It is a variation of the beautiful Aviation, but uses butterfly pea flower liqueur instead of Creme de Violette.
There are just five ingredients in this recipe, and four of them are pretty guess-able. They are Vodka, Sugar, Water, Butterfly Pea Flowers, and the fifth is lemongrass. Lemongrass is traditionally used in Thai butterfly pea flower tea, so I figured why not add some to the simple syrup part of making this liqueur.
This recipe doesn’t take long, except for the 4 days of waiting. Unfortunately with infusing vodka, there should not be any shortcuts. After all, we are making high quality bathtub hooch. Just kidding, the vodka is store-bought.
After warming the 500 ml of vodka and pouring it over the flowers (you can buy them on Amazon here) to steep for 4 days, we can finally begin on making the liqueur part of the creme de butterfly. This recipe is a 50/50 which means 50% infused vodka to 50% infused simple syrup. Pretty easy stuff no?
In a pot add 500 ml of water and 500 grams of white sugar. Turn the heat on low and add three leaves of lemongrass. Give everything a stir and let the sugar melt completely into the water. When the water begins to steam (but not boil) turn off the heat. Let rest for 10 minutes, then pour the lemongrass infused simple syrup (sans lemongrass) directly into the jug with the butterfly pea flower infused vodka.
At this point I just seal the jug and put in the cabinet for a couple hours until it is completely cool. Then I funnel the creme de butterfly into a clean glass bottle and cap it. That’s pretty much all there is to making butterfly pea flower liquor!
Will Butterfly Pea Flower Liqueur Change Color?
Yes. If you mix this creme de butterfly with an acid such as lemon juice it will turn bright purple. If you make a cocktail with a base like tonic it will turn pink! This can lead to some pretty trendy drink ideas.
As far as the liqueur in the bottle, since there are no preservatives (other than the vodka) the color will fade and get lighter over time. I quite like the light sky blue color as well, so I don’t mind when this happens.
Creme de Butterfly (butterfly pea flower liqueur)
- Jug (with a resealable lid)
- 500 ml Vodka get a neutral grain vodka, not potato vodka. Anything wheat will work.
- 500 ml Water filtered
- 500 grams Sugar white
- 2 tsp Butterfly Pea Flower fresh or dried
- 3 leaves Lemongrass optional
- In a pot add the vodka and bring it up just to a simmer. Remove from heat. Place the flowers in a jug and pour the hot vodka over the flowers. Let steep for 5 minutes with the lid off, then add the lid and put the jar/jug in a cool dark place. Do not move for 4 days.
- Open the jug and strain out the flowers using a cheesecloth. This will remove any particulate like dirt or dust that could have been inside the flowers. Put the liquid into a new clean jug that will hold at least a liter.
- In a pot add the water, sugar, and lemongrass and put the heat on its lowest setting. Slowly bring up to a simmer while stirring the sugar into the water until it fully dissolves. Remove the lemongrass leaves and add the simple syrup to the butterfly pea flower infused vodka.
- Voila, your creme de butterfly is complete. Let the jug cool to room temperature, then move the contents into bottles of your choosing. I cleaned and reused the original vodka that I used to make the infused vodka.