Friday Night Cocktail: Sunflower

I’ve written about variations on the Corpse Reviver No. 2 before, but just recently happened across another one that’s worth mentioning: the Sunflower Cocktail. Created by Sam Ross of New York’s Milk & Honey, it’s a straight-up substitution – akin to a “minimal pair” in phonology – replacing only the Lillet with St. Germain elderflower liqueur.

St. Germain is an ingredient that was so popular a couple of years ago it was known to be called “MSG for bartenders,” and although it has ceased to be quite as trendy as that, it’s still a useful ingredient. Usually when I open a new bottle of a liqueur, I like to explore a wide variety of different drinks with it. I can’t remember the last time I became as fixated on a single drink as I have been on the Sunflower since opening this bottle of St. Germain.

Ross’s original recipe calls for rinsing the glass with absinthe, but I personally don’t find much value in such a labour-intensive process except in one case: where there’s enough of a “collar” (the part of the glass above the surface of the drink) for the rinse ingredient to contribute its aroma without dissolving into the drink. If the glass is filled to the rim, as it is here, I prefer just to add a dash to the mixing glass.

How to make a Sunflower Cocktail

  • Dash of absinthe
  • 3/4 oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 3/4 oz. Cointreau
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. gin

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled shaker, shake hard for 15 seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

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