Ever since St. Germain stormed the cocktail world a decade ago, it's been beloved by bartenders and bar-goers alike. The elderflower liqueur strikes a balance between floral and fruity, with notes of peach, pear, and melon backing up the delicate flavor of the elderflower. Its ability to work with practically any base spirit, and to make any so-so cocktail pop, earned it the nickname "bartender's ketchup."
If you love St. Germain, you might be interested in these other floral liqueurs that'll add a bit of the garden to your drink.
- Tempus Fugit Liqueur de Violettes, $30 for 750 ml at D&M Wines and Liquors: Violet liqueurs were a staple in pre-Prohibition bars, but couldn't find a foothold again once the alcohol ban was lifted. The cocktail boom of the early 2000s led to the re-discovery of classics like the Aviation, and companies like Tempus Fugit were only too happy to bring back this classic ingredient. Their version has less sugar than is typical, allowing the lovely violet flavor to shine through. In addition to the Aviation, a splash of violet liqueur in an aperitif like Lillet Blanc makes the combination of botanicals sing.
- Koval Jasmine Liqueur, $24 for 375 ml at Binny's: The delicate scent of jasmine is a perfect complement to cocktails made with vodka or gin, which allow the nuances of the flowers to come through. This liqueur from Chicago's Koval distillery has a white whiskey base, giving it more depth and warmth than other jasmine spirits on the market. Try adding it to a martini or a gimlet for a drink that tastes like an afternoon in the countryside.
- Fruitlab Hibiscus Liqueur, $32 for 750 ml at Primavini: Looking for something a bit more tropical? This organic hibiscus liqueur makes a perfect addition to tiki cocktails. Fruitlab's spirit is made with fresh, bright citrus and real hibiscus flowers, giving it a gorgeous deep-red color and rich raspberry notes. And its made with less sugar than most liqueurs, so your cocktails will never veer into the overly sweet, syrupy category that we all dread. Hibiscus daiquiri? Hibiscus margarita? You can't go wrong.
- Grand Poppy Organic Aperitive, $32 for 750 ml at Mouth: Is bitterness more your thing? If you like your drinks strong and stirred, and think that you could never be swayed by a floral liqueur, then give Grand Poppy a try. Made in the style of a European amaro, this molasses-based spirit includes real California poppies, dandelion, artichoke, and pink peppercorns. The result is a deep, lightly bitter spirit that evokes black tea and earth, with rich floral overtones. It pairs best with dark spirits like whiskey and rum, and would make an intriguing addition to your next Manhattan.
- Crispin's Rose Liqueur, $70 for 375 ml at South Lyndale Liquors: Yes, this is very splurgy, but the bottle will last a while and you might find the intense flavor of flowers to be totally worth it. Here, fresh rose petals are macerated in a mead-juice combo, creating a beautiful round base of apples and honey, accented with floral notes. The roses are all gathered by hand and, according to the makers, there's at least a dozen flowers in every bottle. A few drops in a glass of Champagne will give you a spin on a Kir Royale that's even better than someone bringing you a bouquet.