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St. Germain


Nathan
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Andy,

I finally got St. Germain at the bar today.  Apparently, it finally got Texas approval.  You should be able to get through your rep, or assuming they don't get back to you as soon as you want it, you might be able to head to Spec's.  I got some there today, but the Spec's downtown in Houston has a wider selection than anywhere.  Either way, it is in your reach!

Thanks, I was able to get a friend working in California last fall to pick me up a couple of bottles, but since then it's caused quite a sensation at work when I took it up there one day and let people try it. I still haven't gotten around to playing with it in cocktails much, but my boss will be tickled to know it's available now. Is Glazer, in fact, the distributor?

-Andy

That's funny; I actually had a friend out there buy me a bottle the day before I actually found it at Spec's. Oh well. I can't say for sure right now if Glazer is the distributor because we just bought it retail from spec's and had them tag it, but for some reason, sitting on my couch at home right now, that sounds right. Good luck with this week's search.

Robert Heugel

Anvil Bar & Refuge - Houston, TX

http://www.drinkdogma.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

I bought a 50ml of SG to give it a try- many bars here in San Francisco have a bottle but few have any idea what to make with it (haven't been to any of the really with-it places in a while).

I tried a quarter oz of it in a Boodles gin and tonic. It seemed to add a nice floral something, but made the drink too sweet. I think I'll give the whiskey-St. Germain thing a try soon. It seems to want something more fearsome than gin to battle with.

Will post my results.

Edited by feedingfashionistas (log)

All the latest on culinary survival in the big city:

www.feedingfashionistas.com

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Just add a squeese of lemon or lime to dial back the sweetness. It's delicious with gin and tonic or gin and soda.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Thanks for the tip! I couldn't resist trying the whiskey/SG combo, so this is what I whipped up- got a bit kitchen-sinky with the ingredients, I'll admit:

---

2oz Rittenhouse Rye 80 Proof

1oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth

1/2 oz St Germain

1/2 oz "Volcano Orange Juice" (marvelous stuff, from Trader Joe's)

1 dash Campari

2 dashes Regan's OB

A bit each of fresh lemon and kumquat juice

Stir vigorously with ice, garnish with halved, seeded kumquat.

---

Must say, I get where folks are coming from. The rye and St Germain play very nicely, and the bitters duo and lemon calm the syrupy sweetness handily. The rest of the stuff almost punchifies the drink. Perfect for this unseasonably summery weather!

I'm a rye neophyte as well, been very much enjoying it lately.

All the latest on culinary survival in the big city:

www.feedingfashionistas.com

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  • 3 weeks later...
Interesting.  I'll have to see if I can do some measuring, because I could swear that St. Germain is significantly more sweet than Cointreau.

If I had to guess, I'd say that they have comparable sugar content, but the higher proof of the Cointrueau gives it a drier (and hotter) mouthfeel. Less apparent sweetness, in other words.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Possible. I just know that 1/2 ounce of St. Germain in 2 ounces of Tanqueray is too sweet for me, whereas 1/2 ounce of Cointreau in 2 ounces of Tanqueray is okay. It's rare that I'll find 1/2 ounce of a liqueur too sweet in 2 ounces of a relatively dry spirit, which is why St. Germain sticks in my mind as being particularly sweet. Of course, it's also very strong in flavor, so I don't need to use as much of it.

--

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Ohhhhh . . . this sounds like a weekend project . . . . :biggrin:

Cheers!

My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them. -Winston Churchill

Co-Author: The Scofflaw's Den

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Possible.  I just know that 1/2 ounce of St. Germain in 2 ounces of Tanqueray is too sweet for me, whereas 1/2 ounce of Cointreau in 2 ounces of Tanqueray is okay.  It's rare that I'll find 1/2 ounce of a liqueur too sweet in 2 ounces of a relatively dry spirit, which is why St. Germain sticks in my mind as being particularly sweet.  Of course, it's also very strong in flavor, so I don't need to use as much of it.

Important to also remember that herbal and spice based liqueurs and spirits often have a perceived sweetness unrelated to their actual sugar content (or brix.)

Fennel, anise, licorice, and mint are particularly notable for containing substances which are perceived as sweet.

The aromatics in citrus peels, on the other hand, are generally perceived as hot and bitter.

I wouldn't be surprised if part of your experience of the relative sweetness with the St. Germain was related to this.

But, I agree, a little St. Germain goes a long way.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Hmm. I wonder about that. Could you provide a bit more information? Certainly things such as color, temperature and viscosity affect perceived sweetness. I wonder whether, and to what extent substances in things like mint or other herbal flavors increase the perceived sweetness of something, rather than generally being associated with sweetness in our minds.

--

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But has anyone made a "tiki" style drink with St. Germain in it, yet?

I am working on one for the Rusty Knot right now to roll out in the summer. The trick is to combine it so it reminds one of floral scents wafting on warm tropical breezes russling the grass skirts of a south pacific babe, not the floral scents wafting on warm breezes russling the chic skirt of a Gauloises smoking french babe. Totally different drinks if you know what I mean.

Toby

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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Hmm.  I wonder about that.  Could you provide a bit more information?  Certainly things such as color, temperature and viscosity affect perceived sweetness.  I wonder whether, and to what extent substances in things like mint or other herbal flavors increase the perceived sweetness of something, rather than generally being associated with sweetness in our minds.

Stevia, is the easiest example, with extracts of that herb having up to 300 times greater perceived sweetness than sugar.

As far as perceived sweetness in normal culinary herbs, licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is one of the sweetest. I find articles which claim it is perceived as up to 50 times as sweet as sugar.

Not strictly related to perceived sweetness, but one of the more interesting presentations I've seen in the last couple years from the Julius Lab, whose research has specifically targeted substances like capsaicin and menthol. Chemical substances which cause psychophysical sensations of heat and cold.

Here's a press release regarding some of their menthol research: Detecting cold, feeling pain: Study reveals why menthol feels fresh

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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But has anyone made a "tiki" style drink with St. Germain in it, yet?

I am working on one for the Rusty Knot right now to roll out in the summer. The trick is to combine it so it reminds one of floral scents wafting on warm tropical breezes russling the grass skirts of a south pacific babe, not the floral scents wafting on warm breezes russling the chic skirt of a Gauloises smoking french babe. Totally different drinks if you know what I mean.

Toby

wow, i am interested to know how that works out. when a cocktail acurately captures an aesthetic its a beautiful thing... its like nietzsche's "painter with no hands" all you have is a shaker, jigger, and pile of bottles...

anyhow on the sweetness issue. i wondered if st. germain had some built in acidity. i can't find any reference to the flowers being naturally acidic like hibiscus is. but they each produce an interesting fruitiness for a flower... maybe i will have to test its PH... i've got the little blue strips for wine laying around...

i've been making a liqueur (pomegranite seed) with its own degree of acidity... it naturally has too much. i want to figure out how to precipitate it out to make it elegant... at the moment its heaven when a spoonful is added in an oldschool recipe that calls for maraschino or curacao. the acidity provides structure and the flavor is intensely exotic yet familiar. but... you can't make a traditional margarita... too much acid... tricky stuff this liqueur business...

abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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Hmm.  I wonder about that.  Could you provide a bit more information?  Certainly things such as color, temperature and viscosity affect perceived sweetness.  I wonder whether, and to what extent substances in things like mint or other herbal flavors increase the perceived sweetness of something, rather than generally being associated with sweetness in our minds.

Stevia, is the easiest example, with extracts of that herb having up to 300 times greater perceived sweetness than sugar.

As far as perceived sweetness in normal culinary herbs, licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is one of the sweetest. I find articles which claim it is perceived as up to 50 times as sweet as sugar.

Right. So, these are chemicals that are actual sweeteners contained within the plant.

Stevia is an interesting example, but seems to be unique in having that amount of sweetening power in the unprocessed plant.

I wonder whether other herbs could add enough non-sugar sweeteners to a liqueur to affect the actual sweetness of a liqueur when one considers the amount of sugar already in there. For example, the sweet chemical in licorice is glycyrrhizin. And, while glycyrrhizin may be 30 to 50 times sweeter than sucrose, the highest concentration is in the bark and is only 4% (and it hydrolyses to a non-sweet form).

With respect to St. Germain, since elderflower doesn't appear to have any non-sugar sweetening chemicals like the glycyrrhizin in licorice or the glycosides in stevia that could cause an increase in actual sweetness, the question would be whether or not there is some chemical in elderflower that causes an increase in perceived sweetness. I have my doubts about that, however.

Edited by slkinsey (log)

--

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anyhow on the sweetness issue. i wondered if st. germain had some built in acidity.  i can't find any reference to the flowers being naturally acidic like hibiscus is. but they each produce an interesting fruitiness for a flower... maybe i will have to test its PH... i've got the little blue strips for wine laying around...

Coming from a wine background--and having enjoyed the St. Germain on numerous occasions--I'm inclined to believe that there is some serious acidity there simply by virtue of the fact that it's not cloying, and that it's in balance on its own.

Marty McCabe

Boston, MA

Acme Cocktail Company

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The elderflower syrup I've been using has some clearly defined acidity. Spirits don't seem to be required to list all ingredients, so it's hard to tell whether this is from the flower or from other ingredients, but I do know that hibiscus flowers are pretty acidic, and I've used them to brighten up fruit soups.

I'll double-check the ingredients to find out if there's added citric acid or something.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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The elderflower syrup I've been using has some clearly defined acidity. Spirits don't seem to be required to list all ingredients, so it's hard to tell whether this is from the flower or from other ingredients, but I do know that hibiscus flowers are pretty acidic, and I've used them to brighten up fruit soups.

I'll double-check the ingredients to find out if there's added citric acid or something.

i love hibiscus, i put it in my sweet vermouth. it has acidity but when i make soda with it i still need to add huge amounts of malic or citric acid... i like the malic acid because it seems to turn to hibiscus into more recognizable fruits... i tried to make saint germain & wormwood soda but it wouldn't referment when i added yeasts... i cooked all the alcohol out... but i think they may use preservatives... i wanted a elderflower champagne-bitter lemon parody... but the hibiscus sodas are giving framboise lambics a run for their money...

are there any other especially fruity flowers out there that i'm missing?

abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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Just add a squeese of lemon or lime to dial back the sweetness.  It's delicious with gin and tonic or gin and soda.

I love it in a G&T, but find it depends on the gin, and the tonic. I've had good results with Fever Tree tonic, which is much less sweet than, say, Canada Dry, and a gin like Zuidam or Broker's. Citadelle is too flowery, Damrak is too rich, and Hendrick's didn't work at all.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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But has anyone made a "tiki" style drink with St. Germain in it, yet?

The drink I mentioned above might be considered as such.

Someone is actually publishing the recipe in print, so I can't release it just yet, but I am rather happy with what I came up with.

Soon...

-James

My new book is, "Destination: Cocktails", from Santa Monica Press! http://www.destinationcocktails.com

Please see http://www.tydirium.net for information on all of my books, including "Tiki Road Trip", and "Big Stone Head", plus my global travelogues, and more!

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The elderflower syrup I mentioned above, by the way, contains about 8% elderflower (not sure how that works), lemon juice, and citric acid, in addition to the sugar and water.

If elderflower liqueurs are acidic, that suggests they're also adding something acidic to balance out any sweetness.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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I like Hendricks on the rocks, but as a gin and tonic, I prefer it with lemon instead of lime.

Just add a squeese of lemon or lime to dial back the sweetness.  It's delicious with gin and tonic or gin and soda.

I love it in a G&T, but find it depends on the gin, and the tonic. I've had good results with Fever Tree tonic, which is much less sweet than, say, Canada Dry, and a gin like Zuidam or Broker's. Citadelle is too flowery, Damrak is too rich, and Hendrick's didn't work at all.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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Michael, one of the many brilliant folks at the Violet Hour (hat tip, Toby), has a St. Germain drink he has been working on, with pisco and grapefruit flavors. I woildn't disclose his ingredients without his nod, but I'd encourage anyone in the mood for a great spring or St. Germain drink to ask Michael about it.

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The elderflower syrup I've been using has some clearly defined acidity. Spirits don't seem to be required to list all ingredients, so it's hard to tell whether this is from the flower or from other ingredients, but I do know that hibiscus flowers are pretty acidic, and I've used them to brighten up fruit soups.

I'll double-check the ingredients to find out if there's added citric acid or something.

i love hibiscus, i put it in my sweet vermouth. it has acidity but when i make soda with it i still need to add huge amounts of malic or citric acid... i like the malic acid because it seems to turn to hibiscus into more recognizable fruits... i tried to make saint germain & wormwood soda but it wouldn't referment when i added yeasts... i cooked all the alcohol out... but i think they may use preservatives... i wanted a elderflower champagne-bitter lemon parody... but the hibiscus sodas are giving framboise lambics a run for their money...

are there any other especially fruity flowers out there that i'm missing?

so i eventually got my st. germain-wormwood soda to ferment... it has dethroned schwepes bitter lemon as my favorite citrusy soda... so maybe they don't use any preservatives after all... sweet! or rather tart... i tested st. germain against creole shrub with a PH strip... as i've found out before, creole shrub was pretty neutral and sorta surprisingly, st. germain was fairly acidic... i have a digital PH meter so i guess i could see how it compairs to wine... at the moment its looking like a spatlese reisling... J.J. Prum...

i drank the classic (from which gentleman's companion i can't remember) "bon soir" drink with benedictine, creme de violet, and in place of the gingerale in the recipe... hand made hibiscus soda... it was pretty good. definitely an after dinner drink... if i made an extra brut style of soda it would be much better... i think benedictine with violet becomes too chocolately... but if i changed anything it would be the benedictine over the violet... maybe chartreuse to make it more adult...

abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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Just got a bottle. Finally arrived in Dallas!

I tried Bowmore 12 - a peaty, floral personal favorite - with it at 3:1 right away. Simple and delicious. I haven't done much cocktail experimentation lately. My wife is pregnant and I'm not drinking when she's around. But I had to try St. Germain. I'm tickled to death that we finally have access to this product.

Tim

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