St Germain, Springtime is here

I Drink spirits a lot but recently I have been dipping my toe into the world of liqueurs. With spring finally here and summer just around the corner I thought I’d explore the potentials to add a new depth and dimension to my drinks.

A great springtime flavour is Elderflower, Its such a childhood memory of the countryside and to me a quintessentially British taste. In spite of this, my favourite elderflower liqueur comes from Paris. Still based in the St Germain District of Paris the company produces a fine tipple over an intense spring period. Elderflowers are harvested in a narrow 4-6 week window in alpine villages where farmers thand pick just the fragrant flowers. The flowers are then bicycle ridden to local depots where the flowers are immediately macerated and steeped in a local aqua vie which itself is crafted from local Chardonnay and Gamay grapes, introducing another element to the complex balance and structure of flavours.

Many variables have been altered but this has been found to be the best way of preserving the delicate taste  without imparting bitterness or any acrid tones imparted by certain methods.  After this has happened, the flowers are removed before they begin to age, as within 4 days of picking they loose their fragrance and their flavour begins to change. Then sugar is added, at a rate of 180g/L^-1, Surprisingly low for a liqueur however for me perfectly avoiding the syrupy malaise of Cointreau and other famed french drinks, this manages to just tease the best out of the elderflower and settle and balance the drink.

As I bartender I love it as an ingredient the subtle echoes of the aquavit blended with the complex fragrance of elder flower imparts a flavour which is somehow everything at the same time though the elderflower is the main flavour, is does not hit you square in the face as with some “syrups” available on the market {which are often amide form freeze- extraction techniques- Effectively using dead plants} , the aftertaste settles somewhere between the citric end of the spectrum with grapefruit tones as well as more subtle aromas similar to lychee and Peach.

So back to a British Spring By way of Paris and Alpine France My recommendation for a drink usinng St germain could be a very long list; it goes well with Gin, Vodka, Zybrowka  as well as calvados, and clean rums. I would have to go for:

Ice in a Glass:

1 Part Gin, something clean with subtle tones, otherwise the flaovours might over-compete

1 Part St-Germain,

2 Parts Pressed Apple juice, preferably dry so the sweetness doesnt override the liqueur

top with soda,



Enjoy and Have a lovely time Preferably outdoors in the Sun.


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