July 5th, 2008

Saints of St. Germain

St. GermainBoston bartenders made an impressive showing in a recent St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur mixology contest at Employees Only in New York City. Congrats to No. 9 Park barman Ben Sandrof for taking first prize, which came with a bounty of $5,000. Ben schooled competitors from some of the country’s best cocktail bars, including Bourbon and Branch in San Francisco, the Violet Hour in Chicago, Dressler in Brooklyn and Seven Grand in L.A.

“I’m totally honored. The amount of talent in that room was pretty remarkable,” he says.

Another Boston competitor, singled out by contest judge and “King Cocktail” Dale DeGroff for her original St. Germain cocktail, was Misty Kalkofen of Green Street. She summarized the competition, which she said “was nerve wracking”:

The first round involed a “written test about spirits. The second round we were presented with four bottles marked A, B, C and D. We had two minutes to taste them and guess what they were. We then had five minutes to pick one of them and make an original creation for the judges. That was tough. Then the last round was building the cocktail you had submitted.”

The last round almost did Ben in. Curdled cream and a broken glass tripped up his first two attempts at mixing his Sureau Fizz within the time limit, but he managed to twist an orange peel over his third attempt just as the horn blew. Nice work, Ben and Misty. You made us proud.

Here’s the recipe for Ben’s winning cocktail, the Sureau (that’s French for elderflower, mes amis) Fizz.

Sureau Fizz

2 oz Beefeater gin
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
1 oz St. Germain
3 drops orange blossom water
1 1/2 oz heavy cream
1 fresh raw egg white
1 oz soda water

Method: Shake all ingredients for 10-12 minutes and pour into a collins glass. Top with soda water. Garnish with orange oil.

And here’s the recipe for Misty’s drink:

Summer of Sureau

1 1/2 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz Batavia Arrack
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz pineapple syrup*
3 dashes Bittermans Boston Summer Bittahs

Shake over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. *Pineapple syrup: pass fresh pineapple juice through a fine strainer lined with a cone filter (a coffee filter would work, too). Then take the pineapple water and make a syrup that’s two parts pineapple water, one part sugar.

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9 Responses to “Saints of St. Germain”

  1. Drew

    Congrats Ben and Misty!
    Any chance of seeing Misty’s recipe up here as well?

  2. BostonKnucklehead.com

    Wow this even is no joke. That last drink sounds amazing. Do you think it would be too much to ask a bartender to make that some night?

  3. Drew

    This one takes more than 10 minutes of active work to make … so if you order it, I feel it’s best to do so not during a rush, and probably worth asking your bartender if he or she has the time to make you one. To me, it resembles a ramos gin fizz, a fabulous drink I’ve only had once, and only because the bartender offered to make me one. I’d feel weird ordering one unless it was something I requested be brought with (or near) dessert while placing my order for a chef’s tasting — at least give the bar an opportunity to be ready for it and to have a window in which to deliver it. Oh, and if you do order one, for everyone’s sake, do so with a bartender whose establishment appears on (or would find peers on) this site.
    To the bar pros here: would it be completely unkosher to make fizzes with one of those shaking machines the boba tea places use to emulsify their product? I have no idea if that would over-froth the egg or if the inevitable Hello Kitty-esque motifs painted on those things would just be too ugly on your mahogany and copper.

  4. Drew

    oh and TIP! In the time it takes to make a Ramos (or Sureau), your bartender could have done 4-6 other drinks. And it gets tiring shaking and shaking and shaking that long, so show your appreciation for the feats of strength that went into your aperitif

  5. Alex

    I haven’t actually seen the machines you’re referring to, but I frequently see the hawthorne spring trick being used these days, and the bar that a friend works at has a stick blender on hand for those sorts of drinks which works pretty well.

  6. ljclark

    Drew, I’m putting Misty’s recipe up now. She says it’s currently available at Green Street. Good advice on the conscientious way to order and show appreciation for a hard-to-make drink. As for the Sureau Fizz, I believe that Ben or anyone else behind the bar at No. 9 would be ready to prepare one whenever asked. And for Ramos Gin and other types of Fizzes, go to a bar that is serious about its classic cocktails — and if the customers are three deep at the bar, you might want to order Drink B until things calm down a bit. Histories of the Ramos Gin Fizz are fond of noting that the bar in New Orleans where they were invented had a battalion of guys to shake these things up in assembly-line fashion.

    Alex, thanks for bringing up the Hawthorne spring trick. This is when bartenders remove the spring from their Hawthorne strainer (the type of cocktail strainer found in most bars) and place it inside the shaker for that extra bit of agitation when making egg and cream drinks.

  7. BostonKnucklehead.com

    Thanks Drew, yeah I would not dare to order that drink during a rush time at a bar. I would probably be shunned.

  8. Rich Newton

    all the drinks were pretty lame. MIsty is awesome but didnt do so hot. Ben’s drink… eh

  9. John Hyson

    The Sureau Fizz is a blatant rip-off of a Ramos Gin Fizz with just a couple of very minor tweaks. Hardly a new idea or recipe.

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