St. Germaine: A Summery Liqueur in Winter

Elderflower liquor, an excellent aperitif

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By David Hammond

In Paris a few years ago, I became enraptured by the before-dinner drinks, aperitifs of light fruitiness that perked the palette. "What a beautiful way to being a meal," I thought. Back home, I looked all over for similar drinks, but without much luck.

Then about two years ago, it seemed that at every new bar opening, St. Germaine was there on the counter as a cocktail ingredient. It was everywhere.

St. Germaine is a liqueur made of fresh elderflowers, and it has a lush aroma and taste, full of sunshine and sweetness (though St. Germaine has half the sugar of most liqueurs).

The promotional literature that accompanied the bottle focused on the use of the beverage in mixed and after-dinner drinks. I prefer it before dinner as an aperitif.

As an aperitif, St. Germaine awakens the palette without the heavy hit the brain may sometimes take from, for instance, a Manhattan.

As I was researching St. Germaine, I came upon an article written by my fellow contributor Frank Chlumsky. Chlumsky seemed pleased with the mixture of St. Germaine and white wine. Mixing with a little white wine is, indeed, a good way to appreciate the subtleties of this flower-based beverage.

St. Germain is available at Binny's for around $40/bottle…but a little goes a long way. In white wine, I use about 2 tbls of St. Germaine to 4 oz of wine.


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