Daisy Week: Purple Pisco Daisy Cocktail Recipe

Daisy Week: Purple Pisco Daisy Cocktail Recipe

Purple Pisco Daisy Cocktail Recipe

We’re spending this week acquainting ourselves with a very old, mostly forgotten class of cocktail called the Daisy, a sort of sour with something(s) extra. It’s a deliciously refreshing and aptly named cocktail for the current season of warming temperatures and blooming flowers.

One of the things we like about the daisy is how much room for experimentation it allows. We’re big fans of creating new cocktail recipes, and big believers in the idea that most of the new recipes you really want to drink are variations on well-established patterns. The Daisy is the perfect template for this style of playing with a recipe: a few simple rules, plenty of options, and a high likelihood of successfully creating something worth drinking.

Frank Caiafa, head bartender at the Waldorf’s Peacock Alley in Manhattan, has done us the great service of drawing the lines in which we can color creating our very own versions of the daisy. The original Waldorf was built during the Daisy’s glory days in the 1890s. In the 1930s, Prohibition had shut down its famous bar, and the original building had been torn down to make way for the Empire State Building. As a memorial to the good times in the old building, the Waldorf-Astoria’s PR man wrote The Old Waldorf Bar Book. In celebration of the current revival of the cocktail, Caiafa decided to write an updated and annotated version of The Old Waldorf, called the Waldorf Astoria Bar Book. In the new book, rather than listing all of the myriad variations on the daisy ever served at the Waldorf, Caiafa gives us the template on which all daisies are built:

  • 2 oz of your spirit of choice
  • 3/4 oz lemon or lime juice
  • 1/4 oz syrup of some kind–gum or simple syrup, raspberry, and grenadine are classically most common
  • 1/2 oz liqueur (optional)–curacao or maraschino are classically the most common, but anything is fair
  • shaken with ice
  • served either straight up or on the rocks
  • finished with 1/2 oz soda
  • garnished with mint, citrus, and/or seasonal berries

We used Caiafa’s Basic Daisy Rules to make the pisco and violette daisy. For our syrup, we turned to our erstwhile Union Kitchen colleague, Wild Roots Apothecary, for something a little more complex than the classics. The result was a drink with a lovely, soft purple color, and a smooth, velvety flavor like Earl Grey Tea, but with some lemon and an alcohol bite.

Purple Pisco Cocktail Recipe


  • 2 oz pisco
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz Wild Roots lemon cardamom syrup
  • 1/2 oz creme de violette
  • lemon slice, for garnish


  • Shake all liquid ingredients with ice until your hands are cold, about 20 seconds.
  • Strain into a cocktail glass.
  • Garnish.

Roberts & June