After seemingly endless months of waiting, springtime—and all the glorious flora that comes with it—is here. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to inject punchy floral flavor into your cocktails regardless of season. From pink-flecked roses to indigo bearded irises, liqueurs are a wonderful way to harness the season’s bounty.
Many liqueurs—from amaro to curaçao—offer floral notes as the support to other, more prominent flavors. The ones we’ll be discussing today, however, bring floral expression to the fore. So whether you’re looking for a perfect summer host gift or just want to add a little of the season’s best to your glass, these floral liqueurs are a good place to start.
St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
For many years this French elderflower-infused liqueur has been referred to as “bartender’s ketchup”—a term of endearment that refers to its extreme versatility and ability to add the perfect finishing touch to a cocktail. St-Germain mixes well with just about any spirit, and makes a particularly lovely companion to Champagne.
The golden hued floral liqueur is made by macerating elderflower petals in grape eau-de-vie. It is then sweetened to perfection and bottled in a striking art deco bottle. The resulting drink is delightfully floral, with hints of citrus and sweet fruits.
Another flower often used to flavor floral liqueurs is the violet. The petite, spring blooms produce a liqueur that is as vibrant in color as it is in flavor. This creme de violette is flavored with two varieties of the flower that are harvested in the Alps—Queen Charlotte and March violets—and nothing else.
This creates an intensely floral flavor akin to that of the famed Choward’s Violet Candies. When mixed into classic cocktails, like the Aviation, this gem of a liqueur lends a beautiful purple hue and an essence of spring flavor.
Bearded irises are impressive garden specimens, and these prolific April and May bloomers in turn make an impressively unique liqueur. Iris Liqueur is produced in Oregon by Elixir Craft Spirits. This spirit is an homage to the iris-dotted hillsides of Tuscany where the flower was once prized for its use in perfumery.
Iris Liqueur is made from the bloom and rhizome of the iris flower, both of which are highly aromatic. A variety of undisclosed botanicals gives the floral liqueur added depth.
Combier Liqueur de Rose
Made by steeping rose petals gathered from France’s Loire Valley in neutral sugar-beet alcohol, this floral liqueur delivers on all the right notes. Not only is it the perfect rosy hue, but its flavor achieves a nice balance between sweet and floral.
If you’re a fan of adding a hint of robust rose flavor to cocktails—or even dashing a bit over a bowl of ice cream or into a glass of Champagne—this lovely bottle is one you ought to add to your bar cart.
BOUQUET OF FLOWERS
Tattersall Crème de Fleur
While many floral liqueurs channel the flavors and aromatics of one flower species, Tattersall blends multiple varieties of flora into one for its Crème de Fleur. During distillation six different kinds of flowers are added to the still. Then, additional flora is macerated into the mix post-distillation to achieve an even bigger flavor.
The result is a piquant floral liqueur that’s rounded out beautifully with sweetness. Drink this over ice or add a dash to your Gin and Tonics or Vodka Gimlets, then head to the nearest patio for a full sensory seasonal experience.