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Elder Rose

Yesterday, we had a bit of fun with our post like we did last year. Today we set aside the pranks to feature two St. Paul destinations related to an original impromptu cocktail. The first is a fantastic little shop on Grand Avenue called Golden Fig, one of the Twin Cities' top prepared fancy food shops. We use their their Vanilla Rose Syrup as inspiration for a cocktail based on a classic sour formula with a few twists. But, of course, we can't really take credit for the recipe which leads us to our second St. Paul destination, Meritage. In addition to a delicious menu and great happy hour specials, Meritage calls itself "a little slice of Paris" and happens to be host to some of the best craft cocktails in downtown St. Paul. We were treated to this recipe by Rob Jones, the

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Drink of the Week: Take 3

About a month ago, the New York Times published an article about summer cocktails. One of these was a highball that included the unlikely combination of St-Germain and Cynar. Leave it to Zachary Gelnaw-Rubin of Dutch Kills, Queens to take an artichoke-flavored amaro and mix it with elderflower liqueur and lemon juice. The simplicity of these three ingredients has a certain elegance to be sure, but it's an unexpected combination that for me, earns this cocktail more than just a catchy name.

What really drew me in was the fact that there is no base spirit—at least not in the traditional sense. There's no gin, vodka, whiskey—just the amaro kept company by some liqueur. A seductive and complex category of spirits dominated by dark and brooding herbal characteristics, an amaro is normally used to augment the flavor

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Drink of the Week: Dunniette

Some time ago I wrote about St-Germain, the wonderful elderflower liqueur with a unique, fruity and floral flavor. Armed with this exciting new liqueur that showed so much promise, I felt that there was simply no end to the many ways it could be used successfully in a cocktail. However, since that time, most of the drinks I see on bar menus are variations on the original sparkling wine and vodka theme. Don't get me wrong, that's a nice way to use the stuff, but every time I see someone doing something unusual or unique with St-Germain, I take note. I am not alone. Jamie Boudreau created a growing list of St-Germain cocktails that all sound pretty interesting. Another fellow blogger and respected writer, Paul Clarke even posted one of his own experiments, wondering if his combination had been "done yet". I

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Get your Chartreuse Now!

Recently, I have been enjoying some cocktails made with Chartreuse. According to Camper English of the Alcademics blog, the price of Chartreuse is increasing, nationally, by $11. That's a bit of a hike, considering this stuff isn't cheap to begin with. Still, as he notes, some retailers haven't changed a thing, so now's the time to go buy yourself a bottle.

Chartreuse is a wonderful spirit with a long and interesting history. First introduced in 1605, the spirit is named after the Grande Chartreuse Monastery in the Chartreuse Mountains of France where it originated. Although it is produced in a factory today, it continues to made under the supervision of monks using a secret recipe containing over 130 different herbs, flowers and "other ingredients". There are two variations. Green Chartreuse obtains it's color from the chlorophyl in the herbs and is a strong spirit, weighing in at 110

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Drink Of The Week: St-Germain

This week, I am doing something a little different. I will give you the recipe for a cocktail to enjoy, but St-Germain isn't the name, it's an ingredient. Although it has been around for a few years now, I find that most people have still never heard of it—unless you are a cocktail geek like me.

So, what is this St-Germain stuff? Magic Elixir? Nectar of the Gods? Secret potion? Actually, you might say it's all of the above. St-Germain is a new liqueur made from fresh elderflower blossoms. The elder, or more specifically, the European Black Elder grows throughout Europe, northwest Africa and southwest Asia. From the foothills of the Alps, the spring flowers are hand-picked and brought to the distillery where a secret process is used to extract their essence. The production of the liqueur combines old world techniques and ingredients with new processes that ensure quality and

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