Paris, France — Elder flowers bring a nice note to a host of cocktails. But the elusive flower is hard to find, unless you have been initiated into the secret that is St-Germain liqueur, an fine French aperitif that is slowly wending its way into creative cocktails. Launched in 2007 by the American Rob Cooper and Made in France, it comes in on the heels of a family tradition for it was his grandfather N.J. Sky Cooper who brought out a wonderful version of the raspberry-based liqueur Chambord.
At The Gourmet Gazette we enjoyed the Olivette, a new twist on the Martini which brings together equal parts of St-Germain with the tried and true Bombay Sapphire gin and Noilly Prat dry vermouth. We like it with three olives. But the ultimate favorite is the simple Rosette. Pour a small amount, or to taste, of St-Germain into the bottom of a champagne glass and top it off with pink champagne and a raspberry in a nod to Chambord. For St-Germain is both delicate and dry so it can be used in a host of cocktails.
The unique St-Germain liqueur is made from fresh elder flowers and up to 1,000 fresh, wild handpicked blossoms are found in every bottle. The flowers are gathered once a year during about three to four weeks in late spring when their flavor and aroma are at their peak. Each bottle is individually numbered to reflect the year in which the flowers were picked. The flowers are extremely delicate and must be handled with extreme care so as not to bruise them which could have an adverse effect on the delicate taste of the beverage. The liqueur is made using age-old French techniques like the traditional process of maceration which infuses warm water with the fresh flowers. The infusion is decanted and filtered before being blended with previous mixtures and then blended with eau-de-vie vin, water, sugar and a neutral grain spirit to become St-Germain. And elder flowers have a host of possible health benefits and have been used in traditional medicine for their potential antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
©Trish Valicenti for The Gourmet Gazette
Categories: Gourmet Fare