I’m not one that usually loves high-proof alcohol. I don’t like scotch on the rocks, rum and coke, tequila shots. However, in my food travels, I have discovered a few that I find myself obsessing over and sharing with everyone who comes over. If anything, the bottles below will make a great house-warming gift!
St. Germain (~$30): An artisanal French liqueur made from hand-picked elderflower blossoms. The flavors are delicate like the blossoms themselves — hints of peach and pear, notes of lychee and citrus. As they say on the product’s website, the flavor is “a little like asking a hummingbird to describe the flavor of its favorite nectar.”
My favorite combination is the St. Germain Signature:
- 2 Shots Champagne or Dry White Wine
- 1 ½ Shots St-Germain
- 2 Shots Sparkling Water or Club Soda
Stir in a tall ice-filled glass, garnish with a lemon twist.
Lillet (~$16): (pronounced “le-lay”) is a brand of French aperitif wine that has notes of both citrus and honey. It is a blend of 85% wine and citrus liqueurs made from a variety of oranges and then matured in oak casks. Lillet is available in red (Lillet Rouge) and white (Lillet Blanc) versions. Blackbird restaurant introduced me to this aperitif and I have been replenishing my stash ever since. My favorite is Lillet Blanc on ice!
Discovered this unique recipe combining Lillet Blanc, basil, and cinnamon:
- 1 cup ice, plus more for serving
- 1/2 cup Lillet Blanc
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) gin
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
- Splash of tonic water
- 1 cucumber spear, for garnish
- 1 cinnamon stick, for garnish
Put ice, Lillet, gin, orange juice, and basil in a cocktail shaker; shake well. Fill a glass with ice; strain mixture into glass. Add tonic water. Garnish with cucumber spear, cinnamon stick, and basil sprigs.
Root liqueur (~$40): In the 1700’s, it was called Root Tea. Native Americans taught the recipe to colonial settlers — an herbal remedy made with sassafras, sarsaparilla, birch bark and other wild roots and herbs. At the close of the 19th century, a Philadelphia pharmacist removed the alcohol from Root Tea and renamed it ‘Root Beer’. He did this so that hard drinking Pennsylvania coal miners and steelworkers could enjoy it in place of true alcoholic refreshment.
ROOT is very aromatic in the glass, with a delightfully rich bouquet of birch, smoke, baking spices, and vanilla. It has strong notes of birch, peppery herbaceousness, spices, citrus and vanilla bean.
It’s fabulous on ice or ice cream!