Creating spirits is a labor of love, but few other liqueurs have such a laborious process. To gather the elderflowers needed to distill St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, a team of 40 to 50 workers head to the French countryside and pick the blossoms of the beautiful flower. The window for picking the flowers is short, lasting only a few weeks in the spring. The rush to pick the blossoms resembles a last-minute rush by boyfriends or husbands to grab a fresh bouquet on Valentine's Day, but St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur boasts more satisfied recipients. Once picked, a race starts to begin the distillation process as the delicate flavors begin to dissipate only a short time after harvest.
The elderflowers undergo a maceration process that accentuates and perpetuates their delicate flavor and aroma. The process has taken over 100 years to perfect, which makes mastery of video games look far less impressive. Workers mix the elderflower blossoms with a small amount of citrus fruits and cane sugar to heighten the subtle flavor, but the result is nothing short of spectacular. It is a delicate, balanced liqueur that delivers hints of pear, apricot, lychee and grapefruit zest. Despite the fruit presence, it has a bit of tartness to balance it out. It's not exactly like a liquid Sweet Tart, and only an actual taste gives you the sense of its true flavor. Mix it with champagne or other cocktails for some added sweetness, or enjoy it on its own for a mind-blowing after dinner cocktail.