Meet L'Esprit de June, an Unusual Floral Liqueur to Add to Your Liquor Cabinet
In the world of floral liqueurs, the elderflower elixir St-Germain tends to get all the love. But it’s far from the only game in town. Recently, we’ve become enamored with Esprit de June, a liqueur made in the Cognac-producing regions of France.
As a grape brandy, Cognac is distilled from wine, which, in turn, is made primarily from the Ugni Blanc varietal. These grape vines burst into bloom for a few days just once a year—in June, fittingly—and Esprit de June is made with those tiny white flowers (alongside blossoms from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon wines).
The result is a delicate and nuanced liqueur with a vivid floral scent, almost perfume-like in nature, which comes through dramatically in cocktails. Here are three we’ve dreamed up.
Easy: June ’75
Gin, June, lemon, and bubbles—how could this be anything other that remarkable? The liqueur’s fragrant floral character plays beautifully with complex, herbal gin. And sparkling wine, of course, makes everything better.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 3/4 ounce of gin, 3/4 ounce of June, 1/2 ounce of fresh lemon juice, and 1/4 ounce of simple syrup. Shake until well-chilled and strain into a flute or cocktail glass, then top with two ounces of sparkling wine. Garnish with a lemon peel, as long and thin as you can make it.
Intermediate: June & Grapefruit
As a sweet floral liqueur, June stands up well to bright, tart flavors. So we brought in grapefruit and white rum for a cocktail that nicely balances bitter and sweet, floral and fruity. If you’re intrigued by floral flavors but don’t want a cocktail as perfume-y as hand lotion, this is the drink for you.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine an ounce of white rum, an ounce of June, an ounce of fresh grapefruit juice, and 1/4 ounce of simple syrup. Shake all that up until very well-chilled, then strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a half-moon slice of grapefruit.
Advanced: Silver June Fizz
A “fizz,” in classic cocktail parlance, is a tall drink with citrus and soda; a “silver fizz” incorporates egg white, as well, for a drink that’s light and frothy. It’s a great showcase for delicate flavors, like the floral subtleties of June. Rather than gin, we used neutral vodka, to really let the liqueur shine.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker without ice, combine an ounce of vodka, an ounce of June, 3/4 ounce of fresh lemon juice, and 1/2 ounce simple syrup. Add one egg white. Shake all that up without ice to aerate it — that’s called a “dry shake” — and then add ice and shake again for a “wet shake,” to chill it down. Strain into a tall glass without ice. Top with three ounces of club soda. Garnish with a few half-moon lemon slices.