St-Germain gives the appearance of a centuries-old concoction with a colorful origin story similar to other French liqueurs like Chartreuse or Cointreau. But despite its Art Deco-styled bottle and vintage-inspired branding, St-Germain is just 15 years old.
The elderflower liqueur was created in 2007 by third-generation distiller Robert J. Cooper. Its name and look are inspired by a Paris neighborhood, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, made famous by writers and artists during the Belle Époque era that spanned from the late 1870s to the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
How is St-Germain Made?
Made in France, each bottle is said to contain about 1,000 small white elderflowers from elder trees, or Sambucus nigra, according to the brand. The flowers bloom in the spring, and they’re handpicked in late May while at their peak flavor and aroma. Each bottle is numbered with the year that the petals used to make the liqueur were gathered.
The liqueur’s light-golden color comes from elderflower pollen. And while the spirit is sweetened, it contains no artificial flavors or coloring.
What Does St-Germain Taste Like?
St-Germain’s flavor can be difficult to describe, especially for someone not familiar with elderflower, says Anthony Caporale, director of spirits education at the Institute of Culinary Education.
“Honeysuckle is probably the flavor most people would relate to; a honey, sweet, floral flavor,” he says. “Most people who taste St-Germain are going to walk away with sweet as the primary impression.”
St-Germain is considered a cordial, which is a sweetened distilled spirit that’s typically high in sugar.
With 20% alcohol by volume (ABV), St-Germain also contains notes of pear, citrus and tropical fruits, according to the company.