Photo #1: We love drinking this liqueur straight, but if you want a cocktail, there’s a party menu of recipes below (photo above courtesy St. Germain). Photo #2: delicate elderflowers (photo below courtesy From Nature).




Cocktails & Spirits
Category Main Page
Articles & Reviews


Main Nibbles
Main Page
Articles & Reviews Of Foods
From A To Z






KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE.



July 2007
Last Updated July 2018

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Cocktails


St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

A French Liqueur By Way Of The Alps


CAPSULE REPORT:  This splendid liqueur may be made from Alpine elderflowers, but any expert would call out “lychee!” Elderflower liqueur (elderflower cordial) makes simply superb sipping by itself, but with a splash of Champagne or club soda, it’s a summer cocktail. We poured it over fruit and sorbet.

Whether you’re headed to the pool or planning an elegant dinner, St. Germain elderflower liqueur is something special. The 12"-tall bottle is as stunning as any perfume bottle, and makes an impressive gift.  In terms of new and exciting, when was the last time anyone had an elderflower martini?


Let’s Get Botanical


When we first heard “elderflowers,” we thought we might be transported the Alpine meadows in “The Sound of Music.”  Then we remembered: That’s edelweiss, not elderflower.


But they both grow at the foothills of the Alps, and look like cousins. That’s even though the elderflower (family Adoxaceae, genus Sambucus nigra) and edelweiss (family Asteraceae, genus/species Leontopodium nivale), are totally different botanical families.


The elderflowers used for wine and liqueur are from the European black elder shrub. After the flowers finish their bloom, delicious elderberries appear.


But the berries make a different wine and liqueur. St. Germain is from the delicate white flowers (photo #2). And it’s our favorite new liqueur (photo #1).



Elderflowers Taste Like Lychee: So Delicious!)

As pretty as they are to look at, the flowers are edible—or at least, drinkable, when made into liqueur.


To that end, locals handpick the blossoms, which are distilled in small batches into a 100% elderflower blossom 40-proof liqueur made by French artisan company St. Germain.


Take off the cap and the loveliest of lychee aromas hits you immediately. There’s a bit of peach, some orange that evolves to grapefruit, and maybe some pear, but this is lychee heaven.


We tasted it next to a lychee liqueur. There was no comparison—the “official” lychee liqueur wasn’t even lychee-like. Every lychee lover should beat a path to St. Germain’s door.


The floral aroma and flavor of lychee have long been seductive to wine lovers, as any person passionate about Gewürtztraminer* will attest. Now, all of the intense fruit flavors we seek in a glass of Gewürtztraminer are concentrated big-time in St. Germain. 

We are happy drinkers! But more, we have used practically the whole bottle to cook with. It’s time to get another.


Don’t just take our word for it. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur was a double gold medal winner at the 2007 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.


This makes it the new hot drink you can cool off with—straight up, on ice, or in the seven recipes below. Who would imagine so many exciting things from such sweet little blossoms?


Definitely give a bottle to every Gewürtztraminer lover you know. The handsome bottle design makes it an impressive house gift for weekends and dinner parties, too.

*Pronounced guh-VERTZ-trah-mee-nur, the grape has been traditionally grown in the cool-climate regions of Austria, Germany and the Alsace region of France. It is now planted in other regions including Australia, British Columbia, California, Oregon, New York state, Washington state and New Zealand.

Cooking With St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur


Think of St. Germain as you would Grand Marnier or other liqueurs you cook with, and substitute it freely in recipes. Here’s what we did:

Hors D’Oeuvres: Mixed with fresh goat cheese (any fresh cheese works) in dips, on crostini, stuffed into kumquats and peppadews.

Seafood: Mix with butter or olive oil and brush onto grilled seafood, add to sauces for seafood, deglaze pan.

Sides: Add a bit to rice (along with optional lemon or orange zest), with mashed sweet potatoes.

Fruit: Toss with fruit salad or add a tablespoon to salad dressing (including fruit and protein salads—chicken, duck, pork, seafood).

Desserts: Pour over lemon, orange or pineapple sorbet or vanilla ice cream (or other flavors in the berry or citrus family); make elderflower “snow cones,” pouring over shaved ice in a martini glass; delicious with roasted pineapple.


St. Germain Liqueur Cocktails


Cocktail Menu



Can-Can Martini (Elderflower Martini)


  • 2 shots vodka or gin

  • 1-½ shots St. Germain liqueur

  • ¼ shot dry vermouth or dry white wine


  1. Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into a chilled martini glass. 
  2. Garnish with a lemon or orange twist.

Elderflower Martini
Can-Can Martini.

Elderflower Collins
Elderflower Collins.

Elderflower Collins


  • 2 shots St. Germain liqueur
  • 2 shots dry white wine
    (Sauvignon Blanc is ideal)
    or sparkling wine (Champagne,
  • 2 to 3 shots of club soda to top


  1. Add ingredients to an ice-filled
    collins glass. 
  2. Stir well to mix completely.
  3. Garnish with a lemon wheel.


Elderflower Margarita


  • 1 shot tequila

  • 1-½  shots St. Germain liqueur

  • 2 shots margarita mix or
    homemade sour mix
    (read reviews of our favorite
    gourmet cocktail mixers)


  1. Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into an ice-filled rocks or collins glass. 

  2. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Elderflower Margarita
The Elder Margarita.


Appletini - Apple Martini
French Apple Martini.

French Apple Martini
(or Pear Martini)


  • 1-½  shots green apple vodka
    or pear vodka

  • 2 shots St. Germain liqueur

  • ¼ shot fresh-squeezed lemon
    juice, or squeeze 2 lemon wedges


  1. Shake with ice and strain into a
    chilled martini glass. 
  2. Garnish with a thin apple or pear slice.


French 77


  • 1 shot St. Germain liqueur

  • ¼ shot fresh-squeezed lemon juice

  • Champagne


  1. Pour first two ingredients into a chilled flute. 

  2. Top with Champagne. 

  3. Garnish with a lemon twist.

French 77 Cocktail
French 77.

Mojito Parisien.

Mojito Parisien


  • 10 fresh mint leaves

  • 2 shots white light rum

  • 2 shots St. Germain liqueur

  • 1 shot freshly-squeezed lime juice

  • Optional: Add simple syrup to taste


  1. Lightly muddle mint in a collins glass.  Add other ingredients. 
  2. Half fill the glass with crushed ice; stir.  Fill to the brim with more crushed ice and stir again. 
  3. Garnish with a lime wedge.


The St. Germain Cocktail


  • 2 shots St. Germain liqueur
  • 2 shots dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc is ideal) or sparkling wine (Champagne, Prosecco)
  • Top with 2 to 3 shots of club soda


  1. Add ingredients to an ice-filled
    collins glass. 
  2. Stir well to mix completely.
  3. Garnish with a lemon twist.

St. Germain Cocktail

The St. Germain Cocktail.

Champagne CocktailSt. Germain & Champagne.

St. Germain & Champagne


  • 1-½ shots St. Germain liqueur

  • Champagne or sparkling wine


  1. Pour ingredients into a chilled flute or coupette (a.k.a. “margarita glass”).
  2. Stir very lightly or not at all, so as not to break the Champagne bubbles.
  3. Garnish a half or whole strawberry notched onto the rim of the glass.

St. Germain & Pineapple Cosmo


  • ¼ shot fresh-squeezed lime juice

  • 1 shot St. Germain liqueur

  • 1-½ shots vodka

  • ½ shot pineapple juice


  1. Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled martini glass.
  2. Garnish with a wedge of pineapple, or a lime wedge.

Pineapple CosmopolitanSt. Germain & Pineapple Cosmo.


Elderflower Liqueur

  • 750 ml Bottle about $34
  • Prices are verified at publication but are subject to change.
  • Available at liquor retailers nationwide.


St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur