The Modifiers: St. Germain

With the surge of cocktail culture has come a tremendous adoption of unique and interesting ingredients to help push the envelope on flavor and balance in drink mixing. While this can lead to all sorts of exciting outcomes in the best bars around the country, the challenge for the everyday drinker has been magnified. For one, many of these ingredients can read as foreign and confusing as learning another language; orgeat and cynar sound more like monsters than they do cocktail ingredients. But even worse, once we become accustomed and even learn to love them, buying a full bottle can seem a bit daunting. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our new series, highlighting our favorites and squashing the misconceptions.  It’s time to introduce, The Modifiers…


“St-Germain is the first liqueur in the world created in the artisanal French manner from freshly handpicked elderflower blossoms.”

Some time ago, the lady Nobler and I were at a favorite local tapas joint when she came across a cocktail featuring Cava, Cucumber Vodka, and St. Germain.  We were so impressed by this little concoction that we picked up a full bottle of the stuff. And lo! A modifier was born unto my liquor cabinet.  St. Germain is sweet, but not cloying, and despite being flavored with Elderflowers, manages to be floral without that awful soapy rose-water taste.  I, being somewhat singularly minded, immediately internetted a way to shoehorn this new flavor into whiskey, while the lady reached for gin.  Gin is a natural choice for a flowery liqueur since you’re already dealing with botanicals, and it turns out there are endless combinations of bitters, tonics, and syrups that St. Germain pairs beautifully with.  As for the whiskey pairing, it performed far better than expected in the cocktail that instantly became my official drink of Spring: The Paris Manhattan.  But the real talent of St. Germain is its ability to blend seamlessly with wine.  Whether its Cava, Vermouth, or a regular white, the St. Germain fits it like a glove.  A real sexy French glove.  This naturally makes it an ideal addition to your outdoor drinking arsenal and perfect for Spring, which has finally arrived, maybe.


The Paris Manhattan:
2 parts Rye
1 part St. Germain
1/2 part Dry Vermouth
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
garnish with a lemon peel
Mix the first four ingredients in a cocktail glass and add one large ice cube to chill. Elegant simplicity.
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