Elderflower liqueur and sparkling wine have long been a celebrated combination. The sweetness and floral aspect of the liqueur are beautifully highlighted by a dry, bubbly wine like cava or Champagne. The simplest take on this is the St-Germain Cocktail, a spritz made with the eponymous elderflower liqueur, club soda and white wine, and the Elderflower Fizz builds on that basic formula. The drink comes from bartender Trudy Thomas, who created it while at the Camelback Inn Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona. In it, St-Germain elderflower liqueur is joined by vodka, agave nectar and lime and is topped with sparkling wine.
St-Germain largely started the elderflower liqueur craze in the early part of the “Cocktail Renaissance” when it was introduced in 2007. It was jokingly referred to as “the bartender’s ketchup,” as the elegant bottles were found at cocktail bars across the country. Today, it’s not quite so ubiquitous, but still regularly found on cocktail menus. Furthermore, St-Germaine has been joined by a number of other elderflower spirits, including the French Drillaud Elderflower Liqueur and the U.S. crafted St. Elder Elderflower Liqueur. While the Elderflower Fizz specifically calls for the original, you can substitute others to your tastes and preference.
The Elderflower Fizz calls for using Gruet sparkling wine as its bubbly. The New Mexico winery is well known for its affordable, Champagne-style wines. The Brut is a solid choice for this cocktail, as the dry, sparkling wine is an excellent value for using in cocktails. For even more depth, though, the Blanc de Blanc offers an elegant and robust flavor profile for only a little more expense. Gruet rosé, while lovely, should be avoided to maintain the clarity of the drink’s color.
Thomas uses Square One Organic vodka in her spritz, an organic, woman-owned and operated distillery in Virginia. If you can’t find it available near you, most other mid-price vodkas will fill in nicely.
- 1/2 ounce Square One Organic vodka
- 1/2 ounce St-Germain
- 1 ounce lime sour (2 parts lime juice, 1 part agave nectar)
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- Gruet sparkling wine, to top
- Garnish: thyme sprig
Add the vodka, St-Germain, lime sour and agave nectar to a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Strain into a Champagne flute.
Top with the sparkling wine.
Slap a thyme sprig once between your palms to release its oils. Use it to gently stir the drink, then leave it in as a garnish.