Two very popular liqueurs are Aperol and St. Germain. Popular and so different. St. Germain, made from the flowers of elderberry bushes, is sweet. I always detect grapefruit, but others get peach, pear, flowers of all kinds, and some even report lychee.
Aperol is different, offering sour flavors including rhubarb and orange. Aperol was created in 1919 and has always been compared to Compari. For many of us, Compari is, well, abrupt. So, lately mixologists [that’s bartenders to us normal folks on the other side of the bar] have been using Aperol in such Compari classics as the Negroni.
Now, what happens if you take those two very different flavor combinations and mix them? It’s true cocktail synergy. Several people to have invented this same mixture which goes by several names. The basic mix is often called an Aperol Sour or an Aperol St. Germain Sour. I prefer equal billing.
In the now classic combo below, it’s just those two liqueurs with some lime juice. I am experimenting, however. The dominant Aperol sourness still begs, at least to me, for a tad of relief. So some simple sugar syrup is one idea. Lemon juice instead of lime. You can top this drink off with seltzer water or club soda to “tone” it down. Or, you can increase both sweetness and sparkle by adding some sparkling wine. Do not go dry here. Do go sweet with Proseco or Cava [yes, Cava comes in six classifications including both ranging from brut to sweet].
Start with this basic recipe, then experiment to your delight. It’s a good introductory cocktail to kick off a meal, but the liqueurs have the substance to carry you through, say, a juicy steak and some cheesy potatoes.
Aperol St. Germain Sour
Yield: Serves 1
- 1.5 ounces Aperol
- .75 ounces St. Germain
- .75 ounces fresh squeeze lime juice
Shake all the ingredients with ice. Serve in a chilled cocktail glass. Crushed ice is optional. Garnish would be a stick of your favorite herb.
Source: drinkdogma.com and shakestir.com
And I did it myself.
I’m not a fan of the way many foods and almost all wines are described. It’s like riding in an elevator: first this flavor, than this note, now we’re at the third level, …
Now, some foods or beverages do come across that way. But there are complex situations that cannot be described on a one-at-a-time basis. And it’s not a simple wave-after-wave matter either, where one dominant flavor is overwhelmed by just one more.
No, sometimes, the flavor experience can be complex and competitive. Initial smokiness can be pushed aside by herbal sweetness and both those flavors can be toppled at once by spice that tingles throughout your mouth. Then the power of alcohol puts a warm glow in your mouth, gently “baking” all those earlier flavors that are still there, still not gone, but now transforming. The flavors roll around in your mouth, appearing here, diminishing a bit, and then coming to the fore in the back of your mouth.
How do you create such a flavor experience? You make this cocktail, sit back, sip, and wonder.
My beverage here is my own experiment. I had seen a recipe for a French Pear Martini using St. Germain, pear vodka, and champagne. I’m using the St. Germain, but sparkling rose for the champagne and the pear vodka is definitely replaced by pear-infused tequila.
The recipe for the pear-infused tequila follow below. Why tequila over vodka? Well, technically, vodka is made to be flavorless. Flavorless. When you buy pear-flavored vodka you can have quite an experience. Some brands are good, using mostly real pears for the flavoring. Some are much more chemically based. And they all have preservatives. My pear-infused tequila is home-made. And it begins with tequila, which as you may know is hardly flavorless. Using tequila gives you an initial flavor boost for this cocktail.
Give this a try. Do be sitting down. And marvel at all the stories your mouth can spin.
Brian’s Pear Tequila and St. Germain Experience
Yield: Serves 1
- 2 ounces St. Germain liquor
- 2 ounces pear-infused tequila [recipe follows]
- Sparkling rose wine
Place the St. Germain and pear-infused tequila in a cocktail shaker, add ice and swirl. Yes, swirled, not shaken, not stirred. It’s a traditional 00X technique.
Pour the mixed liquors into a classic wide-mouthed martini glass. Top with the sparkling rose. Dot with crushed ice.
Enjoy. Make more. Of course, this recipe can easily be scaled up. And, your options include swapping out the sparkling rose for that champagne or cava or Proseco. However, the sparkling red does help generate that complex color.
Source: Brian O’Rourke
Pear Infused Tequila
Yield: 1 liter
- 3 USA Bartlett pears
- 1 Granny Smith apple
- 2 Cloves
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 1 liter silver tequila, such as Herradura Silver or Sauza Hornitos Silver
Cut pears and apple into cubes, leaving peels and cores intact, and place in a large glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Add cloves, cinnamon stick, and tequila. Place lid on container and store at room temperature for six days, shaking periodically. Double strain to remove fruit and spices. Keep infused tequila refrigerated.
Source: Brian Miller, Death and Company