At this point, it’s almost impossible to visit a cocktail bar in the United States and not encounter St-Germain elderflower liqueur. It is in fact so ubiquitous, that one couldn’t be blamed for thinking this is a beverage that’s been around for quite a long time. But in fact, it’s been in existence for less than ten years, started by a young entrepreneur whose father told him “I’ll hire you back in a year when you fail.”
That young entrepreneur was Robert J. Cooper, who sadly passed away this week at the early age of 39. Cooper was born into a family with a rich history in the spirits business, but instead of continuing to further the brands his family already owned, he wanted to strike out on his own. In the early aughts he had the idea to create a liqueur flavored with elderflower, inspired by the trends he’d observed in the cocktail bars of England. St-Germain was born.
The drink quickly became a mainstay in the hottest cocktail bars across America, adopted by trend-setting bartenders who were looking for unique flavors. The liqueur is so popular, it’s now jokingly referred to as “bartender’s ketchup,” since it’s used so often and in so many different cocktails.
And it wasn’t just the liquid inside the bottle that caused St-Germain to take off, but also the bottle itself. The art deco bottle was so striking, it became a necessary accessory for every home bar or bar cart.
While used in many different drinks, the purest way to enjoy this lovely liqueur is in a St-Germain Cocktail, and it’s a fitting way to pay tribute to Robert Cooper.
The St-Germain Cocktail
1.5 oz St-Germain
2 oz Champagne of sparkling wine
2 oz Club soda
Garnish: Lemon twist
Fill a tall Collins glass with ice. Add Champagne first, then St-Germain, then club soda – the order is essential. Stir completely and garnish with a lemon twist.