Monday was officially the first day of summer, and here’s the perfect cocktail to conjure up for celebrating the season’s arrival. It boasts a citrusy aroma without coming off as “fruity,” and its sweetness offsets the alcohol taste without overwhelming it, so with each sip you’re presented with a gentle reminder that your beverage does, in fact, contain spirits.
But the most appealing part of a French Gimlet is the story of how one of its ingredients – the sweetly floral liqueur called St-Germain – makes its way to store shelves. Let us take a moment to pay tribute the small tribe of French elderberry-picking, bicycle-riding farmers in the French Alps that make St-Germain possible.
St-Germain’s elderberries grow in the foothills of the French Alps and their delicate white blossoms only come into bloom for several weeks in late spring. French farmers, or paysans, are organized to pedal through the Alpine countryside gathering the blossoms and transporting them to distillery. I’m not sure exactly how much of this tale I actually believe, but my… such rustic imagery! Can’t you just hear the accordions and French horns?
Once at the distillery, the elderberries are macerated, and combined with citrus and cane sugar to enhance the natural flavor of the blossoms. The final product hints of sweet pear, apricot and lychee. It’s delicious mixed with sparkling wine, a few splashes of club soda, or with lime juice and vodka as done here with the French Gimlet.
The French Gimlet
- 2 ounces Gin or Vodka
- 1 ounce St-Germain
- 1/2 ounce Freshly squeezed lime juice
Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled shaker and shake well. Strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with a lime twist.
And if the liqueur was not impressive enough on its own, take a look at the sleek art deco-ish bottle that will grace your bar. Straight out of Fred Astaire’s parlor, I tell ya! Each St-Germain bottle is numbered and branded with the vintage year reflecting the year in which the blossoms were picked. A fantastic liqueur, and impressive bottle… a great gift.
My birthday is October 21st