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Bohemien Rhapsody

I love a good story. I also love a good cocktail. When the good story and the good cocktail interact, well, then I’m pretty much smitten.


Such was the case recently with a beverage encountered whilst dining with my lovely editor, and best gal pal, Nicole. She was graciously treating me to dinner at The Admiral, a little gem of a restaurant/bar in West Asheville that set up shop just over a year ago and has since experienced wild success (I just firmed up a Valentine’s Day reservation there today, which will undoubtedly be sublime in every imaginable way). We’d both opted to have one of their signature cocktails, “The Admiralflower.” It was love at first sip. A mixture of St. Germain, champagne, and lemons, I would gladly, and liberally, drink the Admiralflower to the exclusion of all other beverages (while I might regret it the next morning, I would accept my forthcoming hair-of-the-dog fate willingly).

Here’s the bit about the good story/good cocktail intersection. For those of you unfamiliar with St. Germain, it is an artisanal French liquor made from hand-picked elderflower blossoms. You can read the story in detail here, but the gist of it goes something like this: Every year, for but a few ephemeral Spring days, a handful of Frenchmen, known as “un bohemien” (there are only 40-50 in the world), handpick wild elderflower blossoms in the French Alps, and then bicycle those blossoms (BICYCLE THEM!!!) in large sacks down the mountainside, where they sell the blossoms at market. Can’t you just see it: mustachioed, craggy-faced, cigarette-lipped “Bohemiens“, delicately cradling fragrant elderflower blossoms, undoubtedly wearing berets and frayed blazers with suede elbow patches all the while?

I can’t imagine anything so decidedly slow-paced and anachronistic, where beverages are concerned. This appeals to me on so many levels-the loving attention to something fragile and delicate, the fleeting nature of the blossoms and the powerhouse of fragrance they exude, the emphasis on region and season and preservation. The fact that St. Germain possesses one of the most exquisitely palate-pleasing flavors I have ever encountered (you know how honeysuckle smells? that’s how St. Germain tastes) just seals the deal. I know what I’ll be drinking on Valentine’s Day.

*Image from here.

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