One of the most popular cocktails I’ve written about is the French Gimlet, a martini-style sipper that includes St-Germaine, a liqueur from France. Since St-Germaine is still uber-popular — and I personally love it — I have taken it upon myself to seek out other recipes that include it.
I happened upon the Elderflower Collins at the Oak Room lounge inside the Fairmont Palliser hotel while I was researching an upcoming Calgary Herald column on the resurgence of the gin and tonic (look for it in early August). This long cocktail is tart and refreshing and rather like a Tom Collins but with the sweet and floral elderflower liqueur for a delicious twist. Take advantage of these warm summer evenings by sipping one on your deck or patio. Delightful!
This refreshing long drink is on the “FAME” (Fairmont Artistic Mixology Experience) menu at the Fairmont Palliser hotel.
- 1 oz Martin Miller’s gin
- 1/2 oz St-Germaine Elderflower
- 1/2 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 3/4 oz simple syrup
- Top soda water
- Mint sprig and lemon wheel garnish
Method: In a cocktail shaker, combine gin, St-Germaine, lemon juice and simple syrup and shake with ice. Strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Top with soda and garnish with a mint sprig and a lemon wheel.
— Recipe courtesy Fairmont Palliser hotel
I finally made it to dinner at Downtown Food last weekend at the suggestion of friends. After eating what I can only describe as the best — and most creative — meal out I’ve had in a long time, I have to wonder what took me so long to get there. So, if you get a chance, go.
The restaurant also has an interesting cocktail list, featuring a drink with sake, one with lychee liqueur and three different martinis (not of the sweet variety). I opted for the Farmer’s Martini, a wise choice given my penchant for gin and elderflower liqueur.
The Farmer’s Martini at Downtown Food is such a pretty drink. Bonus: it tastes good, too!
I’m guessing the name is a nod to its two farm-fresh ingredients: cucumbers and sage. No matter — this drink is awesome. Gin and cucumbers are meant for each other, but add in lime juice, elderflower cordial and a hint of sage and you’ve got a savoury drink that’s both creative and refreshing. Enjoy!
- 2 oz gin, preferably Hendrick’s
- 2 oz cucumber puree*
- 1 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1 oz elderflower cordial
- 2-3 sprigs sage
- 4-6 ice cubes
- Top soda water
- Lime wedge and cucumber slice garnish
In a shaker combine sage cucumbers and ice and muddle to crush sage. Add gin, lime and elderflower cordial. Shake, then strain into a martini glass. Top with soda water to taste. Garnish with a lime wedge and cucumber slice. (Drink should be bright green with flecks of sage and cucumber.)
*Cucumber puree: Using a hand mixer or in a Magic Bullet, pulse cucumbers with a bit of water or lime juice to make a puree.
— Recipe courtesy Darren MacLean, owner and chef, Downtown Food
I have been searching for St-Germain for several months. This trendy French liqueur is made from the blossoms of elderflowers and has become an “it” mixer to add to drinks such as gin and tonics or champagne cocktails. Sadly, liquor stores in Calgary either do not carry it or are sold out of it. So when my husband came across a large bottle at a liquor warehouse in Scottsdale, Ariz. (not unlike Costco, only stocked with booze — the warehouse, not the city) he snapped it up.
Even the bottle looks French. Tres chic!
I went online to search for St-Germain cocktail recipes and came across the French Gimlet. A traditional gimlet, if you’ll recall from the 70s, called for either vodka or gin plus Rose’s lime, a cordial that is super-sweet and also a frightening green hue from the Blue 1, a food colorant. I am happy to report the French Gimlet calls for fresh squeezed lime juice and relies on the St-Germain as the sweetening agent.
On its own St-Germain tastes rather like Lillet, but with both fruit and floral notes and, to summon my inner French mademoiselle, a “je ne sais quoi” that’s almost honey-like. Curiously, when shaken with vodka and lime juice the end result is not unlike a Dawa cocktail. I liked it, but mostly I am just excited to add a bottle of St-Germain to the liquor cabinet!
Vodka meets lime and St-Germain.
- 2 parts vodka or gin (I opted for vodka only because we are out of gin — quelle dommage!)
- 1 part St-Germain
- 1/2 part freshly squeezed lime juice
Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled shaker and shake well. Strain into a coup or martini glass. Garnish with a lime twist.
–Recipe courtesy St-Germain