My favorite way to celebrate spring is with a deserving cocktail. Though most weekends and occasional weekdays, my heart does belong to an Old Fashioned, I can’t discuss the arrival of spring without discussing the wonder that is the elderflower.
The elderflower is the star of St.Germain, the first liqueur in the world created in the artisanal French manner of freshly handpicking elderflower blossoms. Located in the French Alps and surrounding countryside, 40-50 men ride their bicycles and scour through the area to hand-pick elderflower blossoms. However, because of a harvest and blossoming period of 4-6 weeks, the time devoted to finding these blossoms is careful and done with exact precision.
Once the flowers are selected, they are delivered to collection stations where harvesters are paid by the kilo. Then, the flowers are immediately macerated to capture the freshest flavor possible. Throughout the weekly harvest process, the maceration of all the flowers are added together before marrying with the spirits.
The elderflower maceration is combined with eau-de-vie, a traditional grape spirit used for years in the creation of St. Germain. Next comes blending with cane sugar, just enough to enhance the natural floral scent of the elderflower. In comparison with other liqueurs, the sugar content in St. Germain is roughly half of its competitors.
The end result of St. Germain is difficult to explain because the flavor is complex but light on the tongue. Some note the floral aspect, often tasting the fresh flavor of the elderflower. Others taste the hints of fruit – grapefruit, pear and peach. The combination of all is a liqueur that radiates springtime but even more, a liqueur that is versatile enough to pair with many traditional spirits.
So whether you like it on the rocks, with a twist or muddled alongside champagne, vodka or even bourbon, here are a collection of recipes all focused on the beauty of the elderflower. Grab your cocktail & your shades and head out outside, soaking up the sun and the 20% alcohol content that is St. Germain.
Signature St. Germain Cocktail
1 1/2 part St. Germain
2 part brut champagne or dry sparkling wine
2 part club soda
- Stir ingredients in a tall, ice-filled Collins glass, mixing completely. Garnish with a lemon twist.
St. Germain & Champagne
1 1/2 part St. Germain
Top with brut champagne, dry sparkling wine or dry Rose
- Pour ingredients into a flute champagne glass and stir lightly. Toss in a strawberry, raspberry or lemon twist for garnish.
St. Germain Gin & Tonic
1/2 part St. Germain
1 1/2 part gin
3 part tonic water
- Combine all ingredients in a tall, ice-filled Collins glass and stir well. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Old Fashioned with Elderflower Twist
1/2 part St Germain
2 part bourbon or straight rye whiskey
2 dashes angostura bitters
- Stir ingredients in an old-fashioned glass, add ice and stir again. Garnish with a large orange twist.
1 1/2 part St Germain
1 1/2 part tequila
3/4 part freshly squeezed lime juice
- Shake all ingredients with ice and finely strain into a chilled martini glass.
Vodka “Can-Can” Martini
1/2 – 1 part St Germain
2 part vodka or gin
1/4 part dry vermouth
- Shake all ingredients with ice and finely strain into a chilled martini glass, garnish with lemon or orange twist.