DOTW: Le Bourget

Posted by Anita and Cameron on 06.22.07 7:02 AM

(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reservedLet’s get one thing straight right off the bat: St-Germain, the new liqueur that’s sending ripples across the cocktail scene, comes in a bottle so beautiful that it will make you forget your budget, your better judgment, and most of your morals.

The producers call their elderflower-scented concoction “vie parisienne en bouteille” and from the look of things, they’re not far off. The shape is impressively soignée, in a luxe Art Nouveau style. The labels, too, are gorgeous — even the adhesive surface sports a gentle tapestry scroll, so as to please the eye when seen through the other side of the glass. Trés elegant.

According to an impossibly precious marketing backstory, hand-picked wild elderflowers are macerated and combined with eau de vie. The result is a liqueur that balances citrus and floral notes as gracefully as a skilled waiter carries a tray of cocktails. A heavy hand with the sugar is perhaps the liqueur’s only limitation; you need a steady resolve and a miser’s touch to make a drink that captures St-Germain’s floral notes without edging into tooth-aching sweetness.

Smart folks, these Germainistes: They’ve recruited many of the cocktail world’s leading lights to wax rhapsodic about their products, both around the web and in an adorable little booklet attached to every bottle. Alas, the recipes it contains are less successful, leaning toward the cloying and bizarre. Mon dieu! Drinks featuring green-apple vodka and pineapple juice — mercifully, not together — aren’t exactly consistent with the swanky image they’re painting with the rest of the brand messaging.

Left to our own devices, we successfully used a splash and a half of St-Germain to create impromptu Champagne cocktails. Meanwhile, we considered drinks that could benefit from the liqueur’s mysterious undertones without collapsing under the sugar’s weight.

We didn’t have to go far down our roster of possibilities to encounter a combination that puts this floral mixture in a flattering light. We started with a traditional Aviation, replacing the maraschino liqueur with St-Germain. The elderflower twines well with the lemon, but you may need to gently tinker with proportions to compensate for sweeter or more acidic fruit. Lime makes a pleasant alternative, should you be so disposed.

We christened our variation Le Bourget, in honor of the once-bucolic airfield where Lindbergh landed the Spirit of St. Louis after his landmark flight; nowadays it’s a bustling commuter hub and the home of the biannual Salon International de l’Aéronautique where — this very week — French aircraft manufacturers are touting their wares to potential clients. What better moniker for a French Aviation?

(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved

Le Bourget
2 oz gin
1/2 oz St-Germain elderflower liqueur
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice

Shake well with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Drink of the Week, drinks, recipes



Comment by Jennifer Hess

Your photos and description of this are so lovely! I had to run to the liquor store anyway on my lunch break to restock a few things, so when I saw they had this I had to grab a bottle. The manager told me they have been having a hard time keeping it in stock – it’s just been flying off the shelves.

Posted on 06.22.07 at 11:53AM

Comment by Michael Dietsch

I must say, even the name French Apple Martini makes my teeth hurt.

Jen picked us up a bottle this afternoon, so we’ll be experimenting when we get home. This is one afternoon when 5 o’clock can’t come too soon.

Posted on 06.22.07 at 11:54AM

Comment by erin

So when you say “forget your budget” how much we talkin’??

Posted on 06.22.07 at 12:10PM

Comment by Anita

Oh, I think we paid $35 at BevMo. Not a ridiculous amount, but certainly much more than I like to spend before I know something’s worth the price. (A certain $45 bottle of honey-spice grappa I bought as a gift comes to mind…)

By the by, I neglected to mention that the garnish was a sprig of lemon-verbena blossoms. I think any pretty white flower would do (presuming it’s edible, of course!). I see chamomile in those produce section flower-garnish clamshells most of the time…

Posted on 06.22.07 at 12:17PM

Pingback by A Dash of Bitters » Blog Archive » Soixante Seize

[...] And, oh yeah, it already is a tasty drink on its own. [...]

Posted on 06.24.07 at 7:07AM

Comment by Heather in SF @heatherHAL

I just happen to have a personal sized bottle of St Germaine that seems fated for this libation!

Posted on 12.28.09 at 10:12PM

Comment by Genie

I must report…this cocktail? It is excellent, and quite effective, to boot!


Posted on 12.29.09 at 12:03AM

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