From time to time, I come across a liqueur that can really elevate a cocktail to new heights. St. Germain is an elderflower based liqueur that does just that. It’s not the most mainstream liqueur out there and you may need to dig around a bit to find it, but trust me, it’s worth it.
So, what are elderflowers, you ask. Elderflowers come from, not surprisingly, a species of the Elder tree, which is a small tree often found in Europe and the United States. The flowers have long-standing medicinal and food uses, although there are aspects of the tree that can be poisonous, so don’t go out there and start snacking on every tree you see. The elderflowers used in this particular liqueuer come from the foot of the Alps in Europe
There are many aspects that make St. Germain such a unique and delicious liqueuer. Here are a few that make it interesting to me.
- First: The elderflowers used are handpicked from the foot of the Alps. I know this sounds a little bit ridiculous, but the delicate nature in which these flowers are picked gives the liqueur a purity and nuance that you can really taste. Seriously.
- Second: This is an all natural liqueur and one with a low sugar content. That means that it’s not overly sweet and syrupy, and it can add depth and dimension to your cocktails without overwhelming it.
- Third: There is a citrus aspect to the liqueuer that you don’t find in other drinks. To me, it tastes like some combination of lychee fruit, passionfruit, grapefruit and lemon. I’m no citrus expert, but I can tell you with some certainty that this is not a one dimensional taste. And it’s delicious
The bottle costs somewhere in the $30 range, but it’s typically used in small doses, so it will last you a long time. If you’re in the Annapolis area, there are three places I know of that carry it:
- Bay Ridge Wine and Spirits - 111 Hillsmere Dr., Annapolis
- Mills Fine Wine and Spirits - 87 Main St., Annapolis
- Fishpaws Market - Ritchie Highway, Arnold
Finally, to show you the magic of the St. Germain, below is a cocktail recipe to get you started. Enjoy!
1.5 oz Dry Gin
0.75 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
0.50 oz Lemon Juice (Fresh Squeezed)
Mix the three ingredients in a shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously until it’s nice and cold. Serve up in a martini glass, garnished with a lemon twist.
**For a slight variation, put this mixture in a highball glass over ice and top it with something bubbly like club soda. It will give you a nice, sparkling, summery cocktail.