St-Germain Elderflower liqueur was launched in 2007 by the New York based Cooper Spirits Company, which is led by 3rd-generation distiller Rob Cooper. Despite being acquired by The Barcardi Company in 2013, St-Germain has retained its artisanal roots.
We pour our blood sweat and tears into ensuring we make our product with unparalleled quality and integrity. Our undying commitment to working with the fresh elderflower and making it a seasonal production process is what has given us the greatest amount of credibility and respect in the bar trade. Bacardi appreciates the iconic, classic nature of St-Germain and they want to be a curator of that as much as I do.
Rob Cooper via The Spirits Business (image source)
Rob Cooper continues to be closely associated with the product as “Brand Guardian” and spokesman, and St-Germain appears on their company website alongside their other spirits and liqueurs.
Harvesting St-Germain Elderflowers
For a few brief month’s each Spring, the Elder tree produces creamy-white, fragrant blossoms. Even though this plant is synonymous with the English countryside, and there is plenty of ancient folklore surrounding its use, the Elderflowers for St. Germain are hand-picked from the French hillsides using traditional techniques.
Part of the challenge with the harvesting process it how to retain the fresh and delicate flavour of the elderflowers, and this is where Cooper Spirits employs their traditional techniques to ensure the process doesn’t cause a loss of complexity or bitterness to the overall taste.
If you haven’t tasted St-Germain before, it has hints of pear, peach and grapefruit, but this description doesn’t really do it justice because Elderflower has a distinctive and subtle taste all of its own.
The New York Times praised St-Germain as having “almost single-handedly invigorated the moribund liqueur category”.
And it won the Grand Gold Medal at the Monde Selection in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 and the “Chairman’s Award” in the Liqueur category at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2010.
St-Germain Cocktail Recipes
The beauty of St-Germain is that it goes well with every cocktail ingredient. Bartenders herald it as the most versatile ingredient since sugar (or simple syrup), because it goes just as well with Champagne as it does with rye whiskey.
The Cooper Spirits signature cocktail features St-Germain with Champagne and Sparkling water:
And their website includes a diverse collection of cocktails, so you can test out the versatility of this liqueur for yourself.