As the seasons change, so do our tastes in cocktails. As winter ends, we find ourselves pushing the warming, drink-by-the-fireplace libations such as cognac and bourbon to the back of the liquor cabinet and reaching for the lighter, fresher spirits. One such liquor we've been in the mood for lately is St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, a new addition to the bar scene and currently a hot commodity.Made from elderflowers, a white star-shaped fragrant flower that grows wild in the mountainous parts of Europe, it is distilled using a secret process. For a long time, distilleries tried to extract alcohol from elderflowers, but the results were always too bitter-tasting. It was only fairly recently that the master distillers at St. Germain figured out a way to do it without the bitter taste.
The story of St. Germain is quite idyllic; the flowers are picked in the French Alps and delivered to the distillery on a bicycle. The bicycle is the inspiration for the aptly-named Bicyclette cocktail which incorporates St. Germain with champagne. The taste is light and floral, with hints of grapefruit, and makes us dream of sunny, grassy meadows with cows grazing, checkered blankets and picnic baskets full of cheese, fruit, and French baguettes. Other recipes include the Pear Tree Martini and The Versailles.
St. Germain can be found at most liquor stores or ordered online via K&L.