Jacques Scott launched the latest addition to its stable with a well-attended networking event at Hemingways, Grand Cayman Beach Suites and Journalist Joe Shooman was there to get the details.
The star of the show was St. Germain, a hand-crafted, all-natural elderflower liqueur that was delivered in various summery combinations to deliver a sweet and distinctive taste on a an evening that started very warm and cooled as the Caribbean sun waved its heart-glowing goodbye over the horizon.
“It’s a versatile liqueur that can be used in any mix with any spirit. St. Germain is a new product for the Caribbean product and is very refreshing,” said Findlay Wilson of Jacques Scott, who explained that the French drink is a great match for other French beverages including cognac and, of course, the classic cocktail – St. Germain, champagne and club soda.
Sergio Serrano, senior wine sales and marketing Associate at Jacques Scott, explained that the liqueur’s traditional cocktail is champagne and St. Germain, but it also went very well with tequila, for example.
“Mixologists can make anything with it, you name it and they can do it. You can have it neat and slightly chilled, have it on the rocks and the taste by itself is fantastic, kind of citrusy, mandarin, a touch of lychee – it’s great,” said Serrano.
Finer things in life
Invited to the launch was the Crescendo Group, which represents young professional Caymanians who network and enjoy the finer things in life, explained Wilson, who called St. Germain a sophisticated brand.
Richard Barton of the Crescendo Group explained that events like the St. Germain launch are important and fit in with their monthly Encore happy hour events for upscale young business professionals.
“We’ve been working with Jacques Scott for around five years. We try to encourage social activity to bring young professionals together. These Encore events are important to get networking going as an ice-breaker and bringing people together. In a society where people often work 16 or 17 hours a day, with family, it can be hard to get that kind of association.
“Our demographic is more in touch with North American and European tastes [than others might be] and any product that fits that lifestyle and sophistication, we’re delighted to be involved. Encore is the perfect platform to get people engaged with each other and meet people you normally may not. People gravitate toward the events and we get a good response from them,” said Barton.
St. Germain is produced from hand-selected elderflowers that are picked once a year in the late spring in order to capture a peak level of flavour and aroma. This provides a balance of flavours that are sweet and delicate and reminiscent of orchards in the foothills of the French Alps.
The tagline, vie Parisienne en bouteille, appears on each individually-numbered bottle, designed in an art deco style. Like the numerous styles, influences and flavours that go to make Paris the intriguing city it is, say St. Germain, so the flavour mix of the liqueur represents the city experience.
Handed out at the event were pocketbooks that explained the liqueur’s background, tips on how to mix the perfect cocktail and a vast amount of recipes based round St. Germain to span the seasons.
The cocktails on offer on the night included the neo-classic St. Germain and Valdivieso, pairing the liqueur with a Chilean sparkling wine that gave a localised idea of what the classic champagne cocktail would taste like.
Another popular drink was the St. Rita, pairing St. Germain with fresh lime juice and Caballo tequila. Served on the rocks with a lime wedge and a salted rim, the liqueur added a distinct layer of complexity to a drink that had familiarity and surprise in equal measure.
The Hennessy Elderfashioned brings together the popular cognac with St. Germain, a dash of bitters, ice and an orange twist. The sweetness of the cognac and the bitters lent the French liqueur a character that allowed it to put across its citrus side, in contrast to the pear notes of the St. Rita, for example.
Another popular cocktail on the night was dubbed the French Gimlet. With one and a quarter parts Smirnoff Citrus, a touch of lime juice and three quarters of an ounce St. Germain, this distant relative of the martini displayed a character all of its own and cried out for a plate of salty green olives to round off the experience.
The liqueur has gained plaudits from mixologists across the world since its introduction as a distinctive and interesting ingredient in cocktails, winning World Selection grand gold medals in 2007, 2008 and 2009. It also was the chairman’s trophy winner of the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, 2010, attaining a rating of 95. In a crowded market, it takes something truly exceptional and distinctive to stand out.
St. Germain is a luxury brand with a light but unique touch and increasingly popular with an exclusive market looking for a refined but accessible experience; remind you of any Caribbean island?