ESPIRIT DE JUNE

"Burgundy makes you think of silly things; Bordeaux makes you talk about them; and Champagne makes you do them." -Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

As someone with a June birthday this is the spirit for me. Every June, in France, the Ugni Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc grape vines bloom. To make this liqueur, the flowers are harvested and transported to the distillery in traditional wooden baskets. The flowers of the different grape varietals are separated and steeped in a neutral grape spirit. Once the flavors are extracted the master distiller combines the different “teas” in various proportions to arrive at the balanced final flavor profile.


Unfortunately, it seems the French distillers, Maison Villevert, discontinued this unusual spirit. The website on the bottle now links to a gin produced by the company, and the general distiller’s website no longer lists it in their collection of liquors. Get your hands on a bottle while you still can in case it has been discontinued.


Espirit de June makes its presence known with the first whiff. A fruity sweetness comes through, with a strong suggestion of strawberry. Layered on the fruit base is the suggestion of rose and other floral elements. The taste reflects the aroma, with a flavor profile yielding hints of peach, honey, and the warmth of the grape spirit base.


You can experiment with Espirit de June in many different ways. Try using it in your favorite cocktails as a substitute for St Germain. Also, pair it with certain cocktails that feature fruit liqueurs.

 

THIRST AND HUNGER


Twist on a Classic: St Germain Cocktail

The introduction of St Germain into the liqueur market initiated a boom in unique spirits. St Germain’s distinct flavor comes from the distillation process that incorporates elderflower blossoms. Espirit De June is a liqueur in a similar vein but with grape blossoms. The master distiller produced a signature cocktail with the release of the spirit, the St Germain Cocktail. I substituted the St Germain for Espirit De June and also added some fresh lemon juice and simple syrup to bring a few extra elements to the drink.

For the drink:

-1 1/2 oz Espirit de June

-2 oz Pinot Grigio (substitute in other dry white wines if necessary)

-2 oz seltzer water

-1/3 oz fresh lemon juice

-1/8 oz simple syrup


Glass:

Tom Collins

Add the drink ingredients to the Tom Collins glass and then ice. Stir with a bar spoon and serve.


Something Original: June Bloom

This drink reminds me of a floral creamsicle with floral hints. I cannot wait to make this again mid-summer.

For the drink

-1 1/4 oz Espirit de June

-1 oz triple sec (Cointreau)

-1 oz fresh lemon juice

-3/4 oz simple syrup

-Egg white

-1 1/2 oz heavy cream

-2 1/2 oz cold seltzer water


Glass:

Brandy snifter


Add the Espirit de June, triple sec, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white to a cocktail shaker without ice. Shake for about a minute. Add ice and the heavy cream and shake for 20 seconds. Pour through Hawthorne and fine mesh strainer into your glass. Allow the drink to settle for about 2 minutes. Top with cold seltzer to see the whipped foam rise.

Eat Your Spirit: Peach Pie with Espirit Meringue

Peaches may be my favorite fruit. Few foods make me happier than biting into a fresh peach mid-summer. Espirit de June has hints of peach, so I wanted to pair them. A peach pie with a meringue that incorporates Espirit de June proved a good option. Since this recipe uses frozen peaches, make it all year.

Pie Filling:

-3 lbs frozen peaches

-1 cup sugar

-3/4 teaspoon salt

-1 teaspoon cinnamon

-1/2 teaspoon allspice

-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

-1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

-2 tablespoons cornstarch


Pie Crust:

-Make a crust or buy a frozen pre-made crust for a 9" pie


Espirit de June Meringue:

-1/3 cup water

-2 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

-3 egg whites

-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

-1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter

-1/3 cup white sugar

-2 1/2 tablespoons Espirit de June


-Add all of the filing ingredients from the peaches to the ginger to a dutch oven and simmer on medium-high for 25-30 minutes and filing has thickened.

-Pour the filing into a bowl and refrigerate for about an hour and a half until its cool.

-If making a crust begin preparing it after making the filing or prepare the frozen crust 10-20 minutes before the hour and a half for the filing ends.

-Set your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

-Stir the lemon juice and cornstarch into the peach filing.

-Pour the filing into the pie crust and bake for about 40 minutes or until the crust has browned.

-Cool the pie for about an hour.

-Start making the meringue.

-Bring the water and cornstarch to a simmer and stir regularly for a minute or two. Set aside to cool.

-Add the egg whites, vanilla extract, and cream of tarter to a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed for a minute.

-Turn the speed up to medium high gradually adding in the sugar.

-Then slowly add in the simmered cornstarch mix.

-Follow this step by slowly adding in the Espirt de June until the meringue reaches stiff peaks.

-Pipe the meringue onto the top of the cooled pie. Use a blowtorch to gently toast the meringue.

 

FRANCE: BORDEAUX


This post, like others about regions I have not been to, means this section of the post is a little different. So, I’ll list some things that would be on my itinerary when Sarah and I eventually travel there and provide some links to sites I trust.


Attractions:

-Bordeaux has an extensive number of museums, palaces and churches to visit.

-One of the newest options in the Bordeaux art scene is Les Bassins de Lumières, the world's largest digital art center built in an old submarine base.

-Bordeaux is considered one of the best cities for thrift shopping in Europe.


Food and Drink:

-VINEYARDS!

-It's Bordeaux, so wine bars!

-It wouldn’t be the collarless without cocktail bars.



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