Who doesn’t love St. Germain? The succulently sweet Elderflower liqueur that comes in the beautiful art-deco bottle. It’s a mainstay on most bars because of its versatility. You can make a martini using it with either gin or vodka. Numerous wine cocktails also call for it, and a drink my friend Lynn makes (she introduced me to it) is a blending of both as it contains gin, sparkling wine, and St. Germain. But alas, it is expensive. In New Jersey, it can range from $30 to $33 a bottle. In Pennsylvania, I saw it for $38. Yes, you only use a little at a time so it will last a while, but for something which will never be drunk straight up, it can be a little too much. Ikea makes a decent non-alcoholic Elderflower syrup which needs to be diluted with water, but it’s not the same. For years, it has been St. Germain or bust when it comes to this flowery taste.
Enter St. Elder. I noticed it right next to the St. Germain bottles. At first I laughed, thinking, “Wow, they’re really not trying to hide how much they’re copying the other stuff, are they?”. But then I noticed the price, $17.99. I considered it. Then, when I finally ran out of St. Germain, I bought a bottle. The label notes how it is produced in small batches and is natural and organic with no additives. They make it in America instead of France, and the bottle isn’t as fancy, but those are the only two differences. Literally.
I took one sip straight just to see how they compare. They have the same exact taste. Not similar, but identical. I couldn’t believe it. I dare you to do a blind tasting and tell the difference between the two. The price change being so dramatic opens the door to even more experimentation. I would never dream of pouring a half cup of $30 St. Germain into a sangria, but I will try it with St. Elder. Their website also has an elderflower margarita which I am dying to make. Maybe other cocktails as well. I’ll miss seeing that awesome bottle on my bar, but my wallet will be a bit happier. If you can find this in a liquor store near you, please give it a try.