"How is it, one might ask, that in the countless decades during which fine European spirits have been crafted, never before has a liqueur such as St-Germain debuted? The answer, like St-Germain itself, is artfully complex. First, let us consider the dainty elderflower blossoms themselves. While by no means rare, these fragile flowers are, in contrast, maddeningly ephemeral once picked. In a matter of days they begin to lose their delicate fragrance and flavor.
It is in the foothills of the Alps for only a few days in late spring, where we are able to gather the delicate blossoms to make our liqueur. In order to acquire enough of the flowers during the short 2- to 3- week window of blossoming, French farmers are organized to deliver sacks of the elderflower blossoms to local depots, some using specially rigged bicycles.
So Notwithstanding our bohemian friends and their two-wheeled delivery system, speed is of the essence. This helps to explain why elderflower in the bar trade has traditionally been available only as a non-alcoholic syrup – what some Europeans refer to as a cordial – extracted from freeze-dried or frozen flowers.
This sort of concoction tends to be cloyingly sweet and frustratingly inconsistent – traits a bar-tender must occasionally endure amongst his clientele, but never, we hope, amongst his ingredients.
As we were saying, speed is crucial to preserving the freshness and flavor of these fragile blossoms. To that end, they arrive at our distillery post-haste and are immediately macerated to capture the freshest flavor.
Here again is another reason nothing like St-Germain has ever been created before. Traditional maceration processes yield little flavor from these tiny blossoms. Unfortunately, the other customary option, pressing the flowers, causes a regrettable bitterness.
To create St Germain, it was necessary, then, to invent and perfect an entirely new method of persuading the elderflower to give up its prized essence while retaining one-of-a-kind flavor. Needless to say, this new process is our proud family secret.
Returning to our old-world techniques, the next step is to marry the elderflower maceration with eau-de-vie or grape spirit, just as artisanal distillers have done for ages. Here we call upon three generations of experience creating fine French liqueurs dating back to 1884.
From there, we blend the resulting spirit with just enough cane sugar to enhance the natural flavor of the blossoms. The result, after painstaking refinements to every subtlety of the recipe, is a clean floral nose with hints of pear, peach and grapefruit zest. Most importantly, one will note the wonderfully fresh flavor of the elderflowers, available for the first time in a finely balanced artisanal liqueur."