Ahhhh....yes! It's FINALLY time to think about putting those winter jackets away...
Springtime calls for cocktails that highlight the BEST things about spring… Like flowers, honey bees, and sense of joy that nothing can wash away (not even all of the April showers that bring May flowers).
What better way to incorporate those springtime flavors than through delicious liqueurs! I have decided to reveal my top four MUST-HAVE liqueurs for the springtime season. Two of which have several options to choose from on the market, while the other two are brand specific.
The popular brand that can be found almost anywhere is St Germain; however, if you stroll through the liqueur section in a large-scale liquor store, you’ll find various other elderflower liqueur options. Known for its delightful floral aroma and it’s perfectly balanced flavor, it’s no wonder this liqueur has become so increasingly popular.
The liqueur is made from elderflower, which is a small, white starry flower that blooms through the spring and summer in Europe. Floral forward, this liqueur is silky and smooth with a pleasant sweetness. You’ll notice a hint of citrus and a gentle nuttiness on the finish – which is soft and clean.
This liqueur pairs well with a variety of spirits; however, my personal favorite is gin and a close second is tequila.
Crème de Violette
Crème de Violette (which originated in Europe during the early 19th century) is a fragrant liqueur made from violet flowers which are steeped in brandy with added sugars. Its flavor has a combination of floral and aromatic notes along with a delicate scent of violet on the nose.
The texture is a bit creamy… But, as you can tell from the description, Crème de Violette contains zero cream. The “crème” name comes from the addition of sugar, which gives the liqueur a “cream-like” texture.
This liqueur can be found almost anywhere, but when in doubt, check the liqueur section in a large-scale liquor store. This is not a brand-specific liqueur, so feel free to try any option you can find. However, be sure to read the label as some can be made with artificial violet flavoring. My personal favorite is Rothman & Winter Crème de Violette Liqueur.
This liqueur combines well with gin (hence the classic aviation cocktail) as well as a variety of other clear spirits. But, be sure to use sparingly. No more than a 1/2 ounce will do the trick.
Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur
While honey liqueurs are few and far between, nothing (in my opinion) compares to Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur. According to their website, this honey liqueur recipe dates back to 18th Century Germany, and was formulated to lure bears out of their dwellings by hunters… Originally called Barenfang (“Bear Trap”), this drinkable honey was not only enticing to the bear, but soon became the drink of choice to the bear hunter as well.
Each 750ml bottle boasts 225 grams of all-natural honey and you can certainly tell when you taste the liqueur. The flavor is rich and tastes just like honey fresh out of the jar (minus the stickiness). You will also notice subtle hints of spice and botanicals.
This liqueur pairs well with everything. And I truly mean that! If you’re looking to add a complex honey flavor to your cocktail, Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur is the perfect addition.
I saved the best for last… Hands down, Grand Poppy is my favorite floral based liqueur, ever. Period.
This molasses-based liqueur is made in the style of a European amaro and combines real California poppies and dandelion along with artichoke, pink peppercorns, and other botanicals – all of which are certified organic. The result is a complex flavor that is earthly on the palate with rich floral overtones.
The founders of Greenbar Distillery (who are the brains behind this amazing liqueur), Melkon Khosrovian and Litty Mathew, were inspired to make this unique liqueur after spending many hikes together through California’s state parks.
I will say, this liqueur isn’t always the easiest to find. Always check the liqueur section in a large-scale liquor store. However, if you still cannot find it, it’s totally worth asking the store manager to special order you a bottle.
This liqueur pairs well with a variety of spirits; however, it pairs best with whiskey and dark rum.