Made from handpicked elderflowers native to France, St-Germain makes an elegant addition to feasts and fêtes both formal and relaxed. Its subtle flavor allows it to pair easily with complementary spirits. A classic celebratory pairing combines St-Germain with champagne, but bartenders in Los Angeles are using it with more than just bubbly. Vodka, gin, rye, rum, tequila and bourbon all play well with St-Germain. See Eater's map of where to find St-Germain in and out of the bottle. À votre santé!
Before Chris "CJ" Jacobson opened The Yard in 2008, he asked his bartenders for a drink list that would go with the "Cheers"-type atmosphere of the place: comfortable, easy-to-like, and with a menu that was full of seasonal flavor. The drink that survives from that original list is the Backyard Lemonade. The Yard's bartender Ben Molina gave Eater the story of how bartender Katerina Paulino came up with the drink and why CJ signed off on it. "CJ is really big into using fresh ingredients from the farmer's market, so when Katerina came up with this drink -- especially using cucumbers which a lot of people ask for now -- it was instantly something we all liked," Molina relates. Bar Manager Blake Landis agrees that the mixture of cucumber, St-Germain and fresh basil keep the lemon from being too cloying. It's easily refreshing, regardless of season or setting.
3 slices cucumber
3 leaves fresh basil
1/4 oz St-Germain
3/4 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
2 oz gin
Basil leaf or cucumber slice for garnish
Muddle cucumber and basil in a low ball glass or mason jar. Fill glass with ice. Combine lemon juice, simple syrup, St-Germain and gin in a cocktail shaker and shake well. Strain over ice. Top with a splash of club soda and garnish with either a basil leaf or a slice of cucumber and serve.