For college cooks, spring is a particularly tasty renewal. When the thought of another root vegetable recipe makes us quiver, and when a warm crock of soup or creamy comfort food ceases to do the trick, new colors at textures appear at the market, ready to brighten up our meals. For the college mixologist, spring means a chance to experiment with new flavors and lighter cocktails that are refreshing and propel us into the new season.
As a newly legal drinker in New York this winter, I took advantage of all the chances I could to drink inventive cocktails bearing no resemblance to Keystone (of course, I write this having been re-initiated to the honored Hanover beverage). To carry a bit of sophistication back to my dorm room, I packed along a bottle of St. Germain elderflower liqueur. (Elderflowers..so hot right now.)
St Germain is THE supreme springtime spirit. It’s the first liqueur in the world created in the artisanal French manner from freshly handpicked elderflower blossoms. These dainty blossoms, handpicked in the French Alps by harvesters who then transport them by bicycle to market, lend an ephemeral taste. In wine & spirit speak, St. Germain has a “clean floral nose with hints of pear, peach and grapefruit zest”…which means its going to be that much easier to throw together a crowd-pleasing cocktail. The low sugar content (pure cane sugar) sets it apart from other cloying cocktails, and the flavor easily mixes with whatever you already have on hand in a dorm room bar. I was sold with the bottle’s tagline, Vie Parisienne en bouteille (the taste of Paris in a bottle). To the French, cocktails are serious business; they’re a sign of le bon gout, or good taste.
The St. Germain cocktail I propose is quick and simple, but will give your dorm room bar guests the impression that you slaved away over complicated sugar syrups and floral infusions. (For a more complicated elderflower cocktail, try this derby day punch.) A mere four ingredients are needed for this SALTY DOG—three if you steal some salt from the dining hall. The price point is slightly different from Keystone, but it’ll whisk you away from the mucky frat basement (and that arrogant bastard ale)into a little 1920s glamour you won’t regret.
St. Germain Salty Dog
Coarse kosher salt
1/4 cup vodka or gin
1/2 cup St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
3/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
Pour coarse salt onto small plate. Moisten rims of 2 highball glasses (or plastic red cups…let’s be real). Gently dip rims into salt to coat lightly (sans salt, the drink becomes a Greyhound) Fill glasses with ice cubes. Pour 1/4 cup vodka over ice in each glass. Divide grapefruit juice between glasses and serve.
Thirsty for more elderflower? As we head into summer, all east-coasters should keep an eye out for St. Germain-sponsored 1920s party on Governors Island in New York City (see the idyllic postcard above from the event). This years party will be held June 16-17th and August 18-19 on Governors’ Island. A scenic ferry ride from the tip of Manhattan to the underappreciated grassy oasis is a summer classic, where you can eat well, dance the Charleston, and pretend like you’ve travelled back in time for some 1920s gatsby glamour.
Brooke Elmlinger is a junior at Dartmouth college, where she is currently studying french, modern art, and government. It’s only natural that she’d gravitate towards a liqueur that promises the taste of Paris in a bottle. Even if she does drink it in a red solo cup…