There has been a huge blow up of St. Germain (elderflower liqueur) in the last two years. It's a bright flavorful spirit that mixes nicely with nearly everything you use it with. It can be intensely sweet when consumed by itself or if you use to much of it. But a little bit will add an element to a citrusy cocktail the makes you go..."ohh...what's that flavor...it's....pleasant!". I'll be honest, I love the stuff for it's versatility, and nearly every cocktail you make with it does something magical to the female palate. Women love the stuff, and one of my philosophies is that if you make good drinks for women....they will come visit your bar. And if women come visit your bar...so do men. Let's face it, St. Germain is good for business. These days it's a must on nearly every cocktail list in the Northwest.
One of my long time signature cocktails made with St. Germain.
Queen Bee (still on the menu @ Carlyle)
3/4 Vodka (try subbing, Gin, Rye or Bourbon they all work)
3/4 St. Germain
1/4 Clover Honey Syrup
Shake and serve up
Top with 1 1/2 oz Dry Champagne
It's crisp, light, and has all these ingredients that women look at and say...oohhh...I want that. It's a fabulous cocktail and have been guilty of drinking a few of myself.
Recently, the Dolin Vermouth de Chambery has released a line of Rouge, Blanc, and Dry that has quickly become the masculine equivalent of St. Germain. The Rouge, is light, sweet and not too pungent or herbal. Hints of orange and lemon aspects. Has a nice weight to it, and just enough herb and bitter to balance off a lighter bourbon or rye. Heavier Bourbons will swallow the rouge whole, and you'll loose the lighter notes that are the big pluses for this product.
I haven't had a chance to taste the Dry as of yet, but the Blanc is AMAZING!!! The Blanc is a more elegant version of a Bianco Vermouth. Essentially a sweet vermouth that hasn't been aged or fortified with the same herbs and spices that give the Rouge it's color. It's light, and citrusy, with the most elegant clean finish of mineral. Just drinking it by itself, over ice is a fantastic experience. With a little orange, and lemon zest a couple cubes of ice and you would be able to pair this spirit with everything from a spring salad, to a nice piece of Alaskan Salmon.
It's also extremely mixable. I find myself reaching for it in the same manor that a year ago I was reaching for St. Germain. My most recent love and combination has been a staff inspired drink called "Mago de la Muerte". In English this translates to "Magician of Death".
2 oz Silver Tequilla
3/4 Dolin Blanc
1/4 Maraska Maraschino
1 of Regans orange bitters.
Stir and serve in a martini Shell with a squeeze of orange zest.
The Mago was named after Michael Staley a server/host at Clyde Common Restaurant. Who has a fabulous story about a dishwasher that though his name was "Mago",which means magician in spanish, for years. One day after work he asked me for a tequila drink with no acid. I was inspired and created the Mago. There is a slight smokey mineral quality to the silver tequila that fuses effortlessly to the Dolin Blanc. Dolin is really the legs of this drink. It adds length and smoothness to the tequila that you normally don't find in tequila. The maraschino blended with the coinreau in small parts are complementary flavors that adds a touch of sweetness. The thing that excites me about this drink is the color. When the coinreau is stirred and water fuses to it, it well ever so lightly Louche. Which is an old term for what happens to Absinthe when you add water to it and it's color changes from green to milky green. The same thing happens to the coinreau, it ever so slightly changes color. So when serving the drink, you'll notice a slight mysterious cloudiness that adds to the cocktail.
Keep your eye on cocktail lists around the city. As long as Dolin Blanc is available in Oregon, you will continue to see it on cocktails lists. It's elegance, versatility, and affordability will make it a mainstay behind Northwest bars for quite some time.