Created in 2007 by late spirits pioneer Rob Cooper, St-Germain is a French elderflower liqueur that quickly become a staple in craft cocktail bars around the world. So much so that the liqueur once earned the nickname “bartender’s ketchup.” The liqueur is made with fresh elderflowers that are hand-picked once a year in the late spring, with each bottle containing up to 1,000 of the little blossoms. Throughout history, aromatic elderflower blossoms were widely praised for their medicinal properties, but fortunately, you don’t need a prescription to enjoy this delicious cordial today.
The St-Germain Cocktail (sometimes called the St-Germain Spritz or Elderflower Spritz) was created by Simon Difford to coincide with the launch of the product. His recipe featured sauvignon blanc, while today it’s more common to use sparkling wine. Fresh and delicate, St-Germain combines well with both ingredients, and either combination yields the perfect aperitif for a breezy summer evening.
The St-Germain Cocktail employs a similar strategy as the Aperol Spritz. Both pair a low-ABV liqueur with sparkling wine and club soda for ultimate refreshment. But the Aperol Spritz chooses Italian-made prosecco, while the St-Germain Cocktail often features Champagne for an extra French flair. The elderflower lends a floral sweetness to the dry, bubbly wine, while the club soda balances that sweetness with a dose of dilution and more effervescence.
Born during the craft cocktail revival, St-Germain’s fast success spawned other elderflower liqueurs, so these days, you have options. But while any of these products can make a good drink, you can’t make a true St-Germain Cocktail without St-Germain. Once you have your ingredients, the drink is very easy to assemble. You simply build it in the glass, no stirring or shaking required. It’s a great option for solo serves, but if you need to serve a crowd, you can simply scale up the ingredients and add them to a pitcher or punch bowl.
1 1/2 ounces St-Germain elderflower liqueur
2 ounces dry white wine or Champagne
2 ounces club soda
Garnish: lemon twist
Fill a Collins glass with ice, then add the St-Germain and wine and stir briefly.
Top with club soda.
Garnish with a lemon twist.