Cocktailians around the world are mourning the untimely loss of Rob Cooper, the spirits pioneer who created St-Germain elderflower liqueur and changed the face of the craft cocktail movement. Despite his significant contributions to the spirits world, Cooper was just 39 years old. The cause of his death was not immediately known, according to The New York Times.
Today, St-Germain is so ubiquitous that it’s earned the nickname bartender’s ketchup. But back in 2007, St-Germain was one of the first of a new breed of spirits designed with craft cocktails in mind, and bartenders and cocktail aficionados alike embraced it with stunning unanimity. It seemed like the first truly new flavor, and it became the gorgeous bottle that launched a hundred thousand specialty drinks menus.
Cooper was a son of Sky Cooper, who owned Charles Jacquin et Cie, the venerable Philadelphia-based liqueur house that’s most famous for introducing Chambord to the United States. But Rob famously split with his family—his brother, John, is the man behind Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur—and went off to found St-Germain on his own.
His Cooper Spirits Company sold St-Germain to Bacardi in 2013, but Cooper remained the brand’s champion. He went on to reintroduce the defunct Creme Yvette liqueur to the market, to the great pleasure of booze nerds around the world who had been looking for a way to recreate this vintage ingredient. Cooper Spirits is also the home of Illegal Mezcal, Slow & Low—a bottled Rock and Rye cocktail—and a pair of Canadian rye brands, Hochstadter’s and Lock, Stock, and Barrel.
We raise a glass in his honor.