Thursday, May 17, 2012

Handpicked blossoms from Alps lend rich sweetness to summer cocktails

Artisanal products are all the rage right now and that got us to thinking of them in the context of the Louisiana Restaurant Association's Thirsty Thursday series. One such liquor was introduced a few years ago at the Tales of the Cocktail and we immediately fell in love with the floral elderflower elixir—St-Germain
St-Germain is a liqueur is available at
restaurants and bars across Louisiana.
The floral elderflower elixir mixes well
with a variety of spirits from gin to vodka,
whiskey to pisco.
For just a few weeks each year, similar to that of the Louisiana blueberries now in season, a group of men on bicycles will harvest elderflowers, a delicate starry white bloom, in the foothills of the Alps. They will gingerly ride them to a local village before they are ushered away to the St-Germain distillery.

The taste is hard to describe as there’s nothing quite like it. Neither passion fruit, nor pear, grapefruit nor lemon, the sublime taste of St-Germain hints at each of these and yet none of them exactly.

St-Germain pairs remarkably well with various spirits such as gin, whiskey and vodka. We even like to pour a little bit in a glass of bubbly occasionally. Ste. Marie’s Dechets Blanc cocktail adds a little soda in with the champagne and St-Germain. Here’s a few restaurant and bars that serve cocktails that include St-Germain.

Bar Tonique’s Treme cocktail consists of rye whiskey, St-Germain, Benedictine, lemon and Marsca cherry. Bar Uncommon’s Kiss of Pearsuasion cocktail boosts Absolut Pear, St-Germain, Hibiscus syrup and champagne. The Wild Magnolia cocktail at Café Adelaide's Swizzle Stick Bar features St-Germain with gin, lemon and house made magnolia bitters.

While there are quite a few cocktails that call for St-Germain, we’re feeling Sangria is order given the abundance of fresh fruit choices at Rouses. Here is the recipe for the Sangria Flora, created by Lynnette Marrero of NYC and found in a cocktail book snagged at Tales of the Cocktail 2011.
The Sangria Flora recipe substitutes St-Germain for the
brandy called for in many sangria recipes. St-Germain
promotional items include vintage inspired postcards,
metal stirring straws, mini bottles and totes.
Sangria Flora
1 bottle Sauvignon Blanc or Dry White Wine
1 cup St-Germain
2 fresh peaches
5-6 fresh strawberries
6 fresh raspberries
1 bunch fresh grapes

Method: Stir ingredients in a pitcher or carafe. Allow fruit to soak in the mixture between 3 and 8 hours. Serve in an ice-filled glass and according to St-Germain’s direction, “then telephone your physician and regale him with stories of your exemplary fruit consumption.”

We hadn’t yet done our weekly grocery run, so we improvised with Louisiana strawberries and a diced Gala apple. Each year since its U.S. launch, we enjoy St-Germain spritzers in the lobby at the Hotel Monteleone during Tales of the Cocktail, this year, July 25-29 in New Orleans.

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