Classic: Arsenic and Old Lace

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted a recipe on the blog, so I wasn’t too surprised when our most prevalent poster, Mano, asked me to smarten up and write something.

What was likely said: “Hey, do you think you’ll have time to write something for the blog?

What I heard: “Hey, you dumb jerk, write something or I’ll punch you in the nose!”

Whoa! Calm down, Mano. I’ll write something.

I began frantically searching for something with Crème de Violette in it to appease Mano (who I now believe is in a blind, murderous rage). Luckily, I find a classic cocktail with this key ingredient, that also happens to taste delicious: Arsenic and Old Lace.

Photos by ADV Photography

This classic drink was named after a 1944 movie based on a play of the same name. The movie follows two sweet old ladies who also happen to be serial killers who murder lonely old men in the hopes of ending their “suffering”. To accomplish this, the men are served elderberry wine (I’ve never heard of this, but would like some immediately) spiked with arsenic and “just a pinch of cyanide”.


1 ½ oz Dry Gin
½ oz Absinthe
¼ oz Dry Vermouth
¼ oz Crème de Violette

Add all ingredients to an ice-filled mixing glass. Stir well and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a twist of lemon.


I don’t quite know why, but the premise of this movie, along with the cocktail, reminds me of Mano. I think it’s a combination of the elderberries, old ladies, murderous rage, and the colour purple.

You happy now, Mano? You big jerk.

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