ST-GERMAIN-FRENCH ELDERFLOWER LIQUEUR
By Michael Hepworth
Hollywood, CA(Spiritsman)9/22/11/—I came across this extremely versatile liqueur by chance at a French Film Festival, and it is now fast becoming a staple in my martini drinks, especially Gin. St.Germain is 100% made from fresh, wild and hand selected elderflower blossoms picked in late spring by local foragers in the glorious foothills of the Alps and has been on the market since late 2007.
The window of opportunity to pick the perfect elderflowers for the distilling process is very limited, but what comes out for the drinker is a strong citrus flavor. It also works well with champagne, dry white wine and sauvignon blanc, so the idea is have some fun playing around with this when hosting a cocktail party for friends at home.
The fact that these flowers lose their flavor very quickly after being packed puts extra pressure on all involved. They arrive at the distillery hours after being picked and are immediately macerated in an eau-de-vie to capture the flavor. A top secret process to capture the unique essence of the flower is the St.Germain ace in the hole, and that is where the distillers experience comes into play. Finally the essence is then blended with citrus and cane sugar for the end result.
Fortunately I have lately become a citrus junkie, so the light touch this liqueur has is also helped by the Anjou pear and passion fruit, and also throw in a touch of Muscat and grapefruit zest. Leaving a nice aftertaste of honeysuckle, cherry blossom and red grapefruit, the taste lingers on, encouraging an immediate desire to continue sipping.
Creator Robert Cooper spent six years developing the concept, and launched St.Germain in 2007 to instant success. Awards that the special and relatively rare drink has won include Monde Selections Gold Medal in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and in 2009 St.Germain won the Bon Appetit “Hot 10” award.
The bartenders who are familiar with it call it their “bartender’s salt” for its cocktail enhancing attributes. Even the “belle époque” style bottle reeks of class, and every bottle is in fact individually numbered to reflect the year in which the flowers were picked.
I know for a fact that only recently one of the major liquor companies offered Cooper a large sum of cash to sell out, but he refused. The fact that his brother also has a rather unique ginger liqueur called Domaine d’ Canton on the market indicates that the family have their act together in a big way.
2 parts Champagne or Dry White Wine
1 ½ parts St.Germain
2 parts Club Soda
Stir ingredients in Collins glass and garnish with lemon twist squeezing essential oils into the glass.
1 shot St.Germain
1 ½ shots Plymouth Gin
3 shots tonic water
Combine ingredients in tall ice filled Collins glass and stir well. Garnish w/lime.
Maximum shelf life- 2 years
Retail list price $37.99
287 S.Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211