Pre-prohibition cocktails and modern twists on classics

St. Germain

St. Germain

A sweet Elderflower flavored liqueur that has seemingly overnight become an indispensable, must have ingredient, St. Germain is as good substituted into classics as it is in newer creations.

How is it made?

This short harvest window yields a years supply of St. Germain.

The elderflower blossoms are hand picked in the spring during a 4-6 week period in the French Alps. The 50 or so harvesters, often carry the flowers on bicycles back to collecting stations. These harvesters are independent contractors of sorts, paid based on the weight of product they bring, thus those on bicycles tend to collect more. This pay for weight also motivates the harvesters to seek out more elderflowers than a flat “salary” type of wage.

Each bottle of St. Germain is individually numbered, based on year of production.

St. Germain 2

As soon as the flowers reach the collection station, they are immediately macerated using a “secret” family technique, which is said to give them the best flavor, while not being too bitter, too sweet or as inconsistent as other methods, such as freeze drying or pressing the flowers.

Eau-de-Vie = Unaged Brandy.

These are then infused into Eau-de-Vie, although this part of the process is not well elucidated by the company. The spirit is then sweetened lightly, but is said to contain less sugar than a typical liqueur. The liqueur is then bottled in beautiful French inspired bottles.

St. Germain 3

Since St. Germain is made without any preservatives, it is recommended that you use the bottle within 6 months of opening. But, I’m sure that once you taste St. Germain, you will have no problem finishing the bottle well before it “expires.”


What does it taste like?

  • I’m not sure I can say it any better than the folks at St. Germain do:

“Neither passionfruit nor pear, grapefruit nor lemon, the sublime taste of St-Germain hints at each of these and yet none of them exactly. It is a flavor as subtle and delicate as it is captivating. A little like asking a hummingbird to describe the flavor of its favorite nectar. Très curieux indeed, n’est-ce pas?”

  • I also get a flavor similar to lychee, yet more refined, clean and refreshing.


St. Germain is 40 Proof (20% ABV).

A Few St. Germain Cocktails:

St. Germain Bottle

St. Germain 4


Cooper Spirits International has also revived Creme Yvette, a violet liquor that was lost for many decades.

St. Germain was created by Cooper Spirits International. It first produced in 2007, to much critical acclaim. In fact, St. Germain was named “Best in Show” in the 2007 San Francisco Spirits championship and in 2008, took home the double gold medal.

St. Germain Cap

St. Germain is the most popular  Elderflower liqueur ever produced. Again this is likely due to the difficulty in extracting the flavor from the elderflowers, a process which the folks at St. Germain have certainly mastered.

An essential new spirit, St. Germain belongs in every modern bar and is sure to become an indispensable part of your repertoire.

20 Responses to “St. Germain”

  1. whiskeypedia

    you can also try the parisian flower, it’s a mojito variation. In a tumbler glass put some mint leaves then add
    -4cl gin
    -2cl lemon juice
    -1 teasspoon simple syrup
    -2cl st germain
    -fill the glass with ice then stir to chill
    -top with club soda and garnish with a mint sprig

    • The Straight Up

      That does sound good! I would probably prefer that to a mojito. Thanks! I have another mojito-esque cocktail that’ll be up soon with gin/lemon juice, mint/cucumber and a few other things mixed with St. Germain.

      • whiskeypedia

        great! i’m looking forward new recipes with st germain.
        You can also try the” slainte padraig” created by a friend for st patrick’s day
        in a shaker:
        -4,5cl jameson or your favourite irish wiskey
        -1,5cl lemon juice
        -1cl simple syrup
        -0,5cl st germain
        -5 basil leaves
        Strain into a cocktail glass then add 5 cl ginger beer (fever tree is my favourite)
        it doesn’t include tons of st germain but it makes the difference!

      • The Straight Up

        Stay tuned. I have a few good ones up my sleeve I’ll be putting out soon. Slainte Padraig sounds great as well. I love basil in cocktails! Thanks again.

  2. Guardian Angel | The Straight Up

    […] with something similar to the Seraphim (or an Archangel), but without the cucumber. Again out of St. Germain, I tried Domaine de Canton and really enjoyed it with the hint of ginger. Variations: Lillet also […]

  3. Amanjot Johl

    Mu current biggest selling cocktail on the menu at Le Truc, Birminghan, UK is called the English Patient.

    50ml Haymans Gin
    25ml St Germain
    25ml pressed apple juice
    4 blueberries

    Lightly muddle the blueberries in a mixing glass, add the rest of the ingredients, shake well with lots of ice. Served in a martini glass with two blueberries on a cocktail prism.

  4. Minty Blues | The Straight Up

    […] The Yvette also helps provide more berry flavor, especially since I would be stirring this drink. St. Germain rounds out the sweet ingredients with more floral based flavor, this time from […]

  5. nottlv

    “St. Germain is the first and only elderflower liqueur ever produced.”

    Not true. There are at least half a dozen elderflower liqueurs I could name off the top of my head.

    • The Straight Up

      At the time I wrote this, I had only ever seen St. Germain. In the past month a new one “St. Elder” has surfaced in my area (ie. cheap knock off St. Germain). Your comment prompted me to search a bit more. It looks like The Bitter Truth have an elderflower liqueur but I’ve never seen it in stores in my area (and in case you can’t tell – I spend way too much time in liquor stores). Are you in the US? I can’t speak much for other markets. What other ones have you seen? Regardless I’ve updated the post. Thanks!

      • nottlv

        Yes, I’m in the U.S. I’m a beverage consultant and also collect a fair amount of things for personal usage or collecting, so I buy a lot of things outside my local market.

        Aside from the Bitter Truth, there is Thatcher’s Organic from Michigan, Bramley & Gage and Chase Distillery from the UK, Pur Likor from Germany, those from the cheap bulk cordial producers like Bols, Dekuypers’ Fleur, Llord’s, etc. and a few from the French cordial producers (Giffards for sure, Briottet I think, etc.). There’s also an elderberry liqueur from Caledonia of Vermont. Some of these I purchased or sampled in Europe, so I’m not sure how available all are in the U.S. Of the ones I’ve tried, I’d say Pur Likor is probably the closest to St. Germain. Haven’t tasted St. Elder yet.

  6. DMacNH

    Just did a taste test of St. Germain and St. Elder. As much as I would like to say there was no appreciable difference (other than the 50% difference in cost), St. Elder had a fairly unpleasant after taste that was slightly chemical. I did a chilled shot glass comparison for this test. I then did a classic elder flower martini comparison, where the difference was less noticeable but still there. I will not be purchasing St Elder again, as life is too short to make a cost based decision on a luxury item like this.

    • The Straight Up

      Thanks so much for your comparison! I figured that would be the case but hadn’t had a chance to try it myself. Just like there are plenty of cheap triple sec options, nothing compares to Cointreau. I expect this will be the same thing; although I am interested in trying the Bitter Truth’s version. That being said, based on your experience, I think I will pass on doing the St. Germain/St. Elder taste test!

  7. Astorian Spritz | The Straight Up

    […] the wine. I often enjoy the Petal and Thorn with Aperol, but wanted to add a little more to it. St. Germain adds sweetness and a touch of elderflower. The Orange Cream Citrate and Citrus Medica bitters keep […]


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