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April In Paris: Fluted OrangeFlowers

2012 April 3
by Gayle

After the Paris Air Show a few years ago, my friend Euny was kind enough to let me collapse on her floor from exhaustion for a few days. The words “Paris Air Show” might conjure up a very romantic notion of planes and Paris, but I assure you, if you are a journalist, there is nothing romantic about it, or Parisian, for that matter. It’s a grueling week-plus of early mornings, late nights, too much work and not enough hours in the day and it’s not even really in Paris; you can spend a whole week in France and only see the 18 or so kilometers of train tracks between Gare du Norde station and Le Bourget Airport.

At any rate… After I spent a couple days sleeping off the air show hangover, I rambled around Euny’s neighborhood while she was at work and at night we ate obscene amounts of cheese and started every meal with a kir royale while we pondered the menu. To this day I cannot drink a kir royale — or any champagne cocktail, really — without thinking about sitting across from her in a Montmarte cafe, feeling aat peace and well-rested for the first time in a month.

It’s good to mix it up with a different champagne cocktail every now and then and I think Euny — and 6th Arondissment cafe-goers in general — would appreciate this one.

And what better way to kick off a month of French food for two than a champagne cocktail?

This one is a riff on something I probably paid too much for a few springs ago at a well-known, semi-touristy D.C. restaurant around cherry blossom time. Having a bottle of St-Germain at home already, after one overpriced drink I decided to mess with it at home and eventually made it my own. If you’re on the Hill and on the hunt for elderflower or orange bitters, Schneider’s can help you with both; Red Liners, try Calvert-Woodley, and pick up a nice soft French cheese while you’re there… I’m thinking Saint Andre.

OrangeFlower Champagne Cocktail

Elderflower liqueur is incredibly sweet, hence the need for a dry sparkling wine here. If you’re reluctant to buy a whole bottle just to try this out, I have to say a) the bottle is beautiful and will look pretty on the shelf, b) it is possible to drink a lot of these so you might find yourself glad you have the whole bottle once you have the first drink, and c) I promise you more St-Germain cocktails later this year, especially one for fall.

Makes one cocktail


1.5 ounces part St-Germain elderflower liqueur

dry Champagne (or other bubbly)

3 dashes orange bitters

twist of orange peel


Measure and pour 1.5 ounces (one shot) of Saint-Germain elderflower liqueur into a Champagne flute. Shake 3 dashes of orange bitters into the flute (about 6 or so drops if you are more of the slow dripping, measuring type). Top up glass with Champagne or other dry sparkling white wine. Garnish with orange peel and enjoy the springtime.


5 Responses leave one →
  1. April 4, 2012

    Why would you want to garish a perfectly good cocktail? 😉

    • Gayle permalink*
      April 5, 2012

      Haha, thanks. Friends who come with built-in spell-check are great!

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