Wine & Spirits
Light and Lovely
When I think of cocktails for this time of year, I think light and lovely—and the one spirit that fits the bill more than any other is St-Germain, a French elderflower lychee liqueur. I remember seeing it used in cocktails coming out of London a few years ago, and since it wasn’t distributed in Minnesota, I would special order it out of New York City, even though it didn’t sell very well. Once it was available locally, it became so hot and trendy that my contrarian streak caused me to turn my back on it for a while. But you know what? There is no denying that it’s probably the best new liqueur to hit the market in the last 10 years and really should be in everyone’s liquor collection. St-Germain has a floral quality without being too cloying. Use it as a sweetening and seasoning liqueur, just like Cointreau or Maraschino. It’s great with vodka or gin and a squeeze of lemon, or try adding a splash to sparkling wine. Perfect for summer, it may not be the “in” thing like it was two years ago, but I think it has staying power and could become a classic. Johnny Michaels is master mixologist at La Belle Vie.