Monday, April 09, 2007

La Vie Boheme Leaves TLM Speechless

Exquisite” is the word that came to mind. Then, I wasn’t sure what else to say. Is it possible for one sip to be so subtly fragrant and refined that it leaves an opinionated spirits commentator at a loss for words? Oui, c’est possible!

St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur transports me to my own fantastical scene where I become one of Erte’s lithe figurines - swathed in silk, languishing on a velvetine fainting couch, with an extended cigarette holder in one hand, and a crystal liqueur glass filled with this delightful nectar in the other. Aahhh, a Muse-y thought, indeed…

Ok, back to the booze!

The Name: After World War II, the Parisian neighborhood of St. Germain-des-Pres became a hangout for artists, writers, wanderlusts, conventional misfits and social rebellion which marked the early decades of 20th century Paris. Nestled into the Left Bank of the River Seine, St. Germain still boasts art galleries, the historic Café des Duex Magots and open-air markets.

Named for this center of Parisian intellectualism, and stomping ground of bon vivants, the actual liqueur is made from wild elderflower blossoms, handpicked in the French Alps, then (supposedly) bicycled down to the distillery. (Is there any more romantic imagery than a capped Frenchman lovingly gathering fragile blooms on a sunny day above Provençe?)

The Liqueur: After harvesting, the ephemeral elderflowers quickly lose their delicate fragrance and flavor. For this reason, until now, non-alcoholic elderflower syrup has been more readily available behind the bar, and made from frozen flowers. In order to make St. Germain Liqueur, the elderflower essence is quickly extracted at the distillery then blended with their eau de vie produced for three generations. The outstanding liqueur is then presented to the public in an elegant art deco-style bottle.

St. Germain is slowly making its way Stateside. I strongly encourage you to take a few seconds
to slip away to your own Bohemian Rhapsody, one exquisite sip at a time…

Lovely on its own, here are a few cocktail recipes and photos, supplied by Maison St. Germain:

The Can-Can Martini
2 ounces gin (vodka, ok, too)
1 1/2 ounces St. Germain
1/4 ounce dry vermouth (or white wine)

Shake, with ice, then strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with lemon or orange twist. (High-kicks and petticoats optional...)

French 77
1 ounce St. Germain
1/4 freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pour liqueur and lemon juice into chilled flute, top with champagne.

The St. Germain Cocktail
2 ounces dry white wine (sauvignon blance) or Prosecco
2 ounces St. Germain
Soda Water

Stir ingredients in a tall, ice-filled Collins glass. Reminisce Paris circa 1947...


Joy Kennelly said...

Natalie, Great hanging out with you tonight! I gave you a good plug on my blog so read the review ok?

Lots of love and thanks for being such a good friend. We must hang out more often!

Anonymous said...

Hello Natalie. I happened upon your site when looking for a way to make St. Germaine cocktails without St. Germaine liqueur. Why? I tried a SG cocktail at a bar, loved it (plus, I love love love their marketing!), but keep a strictly kosher kitchen, and the liqueur is made with eau-de-vie which would need to be certified kosher and I do not believe it is. Do you have a suggestion for a _good_ substitute that I can concoct to recreate this absolute delight in my kosher home?

Thank you so much!