Saint Germain’s bottle has to be one of the greatest marketing coups I’ve known. How could it not intrigue? How could it not tantalize? How could you not want to know what this sexy fashionista was all about? The art deco inspired packaging wreaks of the glamour and romance associated with this bygone era. But, let me be very clear: this is not a one-night-stand kind of liqueur. Cocktails made from this elegant concoction will have you coming back for more…and more.
What is Saint Germain? Produced in an artisanal manner, it is made from elder flowers in France. These tiny flowers bloom on the hillsides of the French Alps during only a very short period in the spring. They are carefully hand-picked and immediately macerated to preserve their fresh flavors. (Each bottle of Saint Germain is numbered with a system that reflects the year in which the flowers were picked). The exact recipe is closely guarded, but the finished liqueur offers distinctive warm floral flavors, along with pear and lychee notes.
Never heard of Saint Germain? You will. It’s been around for about 7 years and is becoming increasingly popular for cocktails, especially in the US. In fact, the New York Times credits this enticing liquid for “almost single-handedly invigorated the moribund liqueur category.” In France, on the other hand, Saint Germain is not only used in a Champagne cocktail (which is how I was first seduced by it), but in desserts.
My favorite concoction, however, was served at this year’s annual meeting of the Society of Wine Educators:
~ 1 part Saint Germain
~ 1 part pear-flavored Vodka
~ 1 part sparkling wine
Shake with ice and pour into a martini glass, and leave the rest to Saint Germain.