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Widely known as the world’s first elderflower liqueur, St-Germain has an unforgettable taste. Made from fresh blossoms hand-picked during late spring in France, the versatile liqueur is a sweet enhancer in cocktails for all occasions.
Today, St-Germain’s global ambassador Camille Ralph Vidal debuts her new book, How to Drink French Fluently (published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC). As global ambassador, she’s had the unique opportunity to travel the world, learning tips and tricks from some of the most talented cocktail crafters. In New York, Whitewall sat down with Vidal at Dante in the East Village to learn more about the book, which highlights decadent cocktail recipes made with St-Germain, separated by the best times of the day to enjoy them.
WHITEWALL: How would you describe your role as St-Germain’s global ambassador?
CAMILLE RALPH VIDAL: Spreading the love of the aperitif and “how to drink French fluently” means a lot of traveling—several hours on the plane, sipping at local bars, as well as some lovely hours behind the bar! I also spend some time at the office discussing plans for the brand, as well as in various bars around the world teaching seminars to the trade.
WW: Tell us about the book, How to Drink French Fluently.
CRV: How to Drink French Fluently is first and foremost a merci beaucoup to bartenders who create amazing cocktails using St-Germain. In the book, you will find some delicious St-Germain recipes featured from some of America’s most talented bartenders including Naren Young, Julie Reiner, Jeffrey Morgenthaler, Lynnette Marrero, Ivy Mix, Pam Wiznitzer, Neal Bodenheimer, Brian Griffiths, and more.
How to Drink French Fluently unfolds as a journey, from sunrise to sunset, sharing elegant ways to elevate and savor every moment of the day. From effervescent cocktails at brunch to the perfect afternoon spritz, and from an early evening aperitif to cocktails paired with dinner—and finally a nightcap to punctuate the end of the evening. Each chapter is accompanied by dozens of original and innovative cocktail recipes and food pairings that showcase St-Germain in refreshing new ways.
WW: What are your top three favorite cocktails using St-Germain?
CRV: The St-Germain Cocktail bien sûr! Light and refreshing, it’s my every moment cocktail. Easy to make with one-and-a-half parts of St-Germain, two parts of dry sparkling wine or champagne, and two parts of sparkling water. Build in a Collins glass, fill with ice, and garnish with a lemon twist.
I’ve also been enjoying a twist on a Martini I created recently because some days are Martini days, you know! It’s call an Olivette (named after my cat). It’s a 50-50 martini with Bombay Sapphire gin and dry vermouth with 1/2 parts St-Germain, garnished with a green olive. The botanicals from the gin and the wine notes from the vermouth play so well with the notes of St-Germain, and all of this combined with a savory touch from the olive—it’s delightful!
Last but not least, I do enjoy my traditional Elderfashioned with two parts Dewars, one-half part St-Germain, and some bitters.
WW: What is something about St-Germain that would surprise readers from this new book?
CRV: Do you know where the color of St-Germain comes from? The beautiful gold from our Parisian, Art Deco-inspired bottle? It actually comes from the pollen from our fresh elderflower blossoms. Oui, St-Germain is an all-natural liqueur—no preservatives or artificial coloring!