East of Eden

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East of Eden Cocktail

When I found my first bottle of St. Germain elderflower liqueur last year, I was – like many of you – inspired by its unique flavor and wanted to use it in a cocktail. I mixed it with vodka, I mixed it with gin, I mixed it with lemon juice, and I sweetened it with simple syrup. And everything I came up with ended up being remarkably similar to this drink, which – while delicious – lacked the complexity I was looking for in a drink to put on my cocktail menu.

Enter Sweet Cheeks Winery. Their 2006 Estate Pinot Gris has something you won’t find in too many Oregon wines: big, ripe, juicy white peaches on the palate. And when I tasted it, I knew I had to find a way to work this baby into a cocktail.

White wine just isn’t strong enough to use on its own in a cocktail, for the most part. So I decided to have a little fun with it and reduce it down into a syrup that I could use to sweeten a cocktail, while bringing those unique floral wine flavors to the party. The result is a drink with a little more depth, while still light and refreshing. Say, the sort of cocktail you could enjoy with brunch!

No garnish is necessary, as it will just get in the way of the luscious aromas rising from the glass.

East of Eden Print Me

  • 1½ oz London dry gin
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz pinot gris syrup*
  • ¼ oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  • ½ oz egg white, lightly beaten
  1. Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Shake until cold.
  3. Fine-strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Express oils of a lemon peel over the surface of the drink (optional) and discard the peel.
  5. Serve with a smile.

*To make pinot gris syrup, simmer one bottle pinot gris (or try experimenting with other local white wines – this is one drink that can evoke a sense of place) over medium heat until reduced by half. Add 12 ounces sugar and stir until clear. Bottle and chill until ready for use.

Recipe printed courtesy of jeffreymorgenthaler.com

19 Replies to “East of Eden”

  • Evan says:

    Forget the pinot gris… if you can get your hands on a good bottle of viognier (and reduce into syrup), the apricot plays beautifully in this mix.

  • Jared – Glad you liked! I think Plymouth is a fine choice for this drink.

  • Jared says:

    Amazing drink. I bumped the gin to 2 with Plymouth, and I might cut the lemon just a touch, but this truly is a fantastic drink. One of the best I’ve made.

    Thanks for the recipe.

  • Chris

    I think this drink has a sort of sweetness that happens on the mid-palate, but I find the finish to be nice and bracing. I think a lot of that comes from the St. Germain, which I find has a really complex sweet/sour profile.

    Ain’t like pouring a bunch of triple sec in there, that’s for sure!

  • Chris Bailey says:

    Tried my hand at this tonight. Came out well! For various circumstances that nobody cares about, I used Plymouth Gin instead of Bombay, but it was still good. Fair bit sweeter than I imagined (although I guess should be obvious). My wife really liked it a lot as well. I used the same Sweet Cheeks Pinot Gris. I’ll be making again tomorrow (wife requested it for a party she’s going to 🙂

  • von Hottie says:

    If you go to The Dove in New York City, (228 Thompson Street) and you order a von Hottie – it’s St’ Germain with champagne and a lemon twist. Delicious.Ask for Mara – she makes it the best.

  • Aimee

    Ask me again under the Sazerac post and I will tell you what’s going wrong with your sugar cube.

  • Aimee Scarlett says:

    I am so insanely jealous that you went to the same high school as Steinbeck.

    So on a more technical note (and maybe this should go on the Saz blog) I attempted to make a Sazerac for a young guest the other night at work and in a hurry as usual, I couldn’t get the sugar cube to dissolve and I couldn’t keep stirring it for time’s sake, which resulted in unsightly white crystals in the bottom of my cocktail. I was irritated but had to go serve food to people. I had considered using the simple syrup, but John had hidden it from me.

    Anyway long story short, is there any good way to ensure the darn sugar cube disintegrates in a timely fashion without compromising the drink quality? Many times I have much less time than I’d like to craft the drink.

  • Alex Frane says:

    Man, that sounds amazing. Are you selling it at Bel Ami? Can I stop in and get one?

  • Molly

    I hope you enjoyed the drink!


    I went to the same high school as John Steinbeck, and grew up with an elder tree in my backyard. Also, I love working with gin, so now you know where the drink really came from. I look forward to making you one soon!

  • Aimee Scarlett says:

    Nice name for a beautiful drink…How’d you know? 🙂 Considering that’s one of my favorite books and that it uses my favorite gin, I’ll look forward to trying it next time I’m at Bel Ami.

  • Molly says:

    Damn you. And here I thought I was going to go straight home from work like a good girl.

  • Chris Bailey says:

    It was great to see an elderflower recipe. A friend and I were just discussing this as it’s in some of the drinks at Range in San Francisco, and a few other hot bars there. Now, armed with your recipe, I’m excited to try it (and better yet that it uses gin, my usual favorite 🙂

  • canary says:

    a cocktail with pinot gris? hmmm….

  • Thanks, everyone. And thanks for letting me cheat a bit, Anna!

    Eugenia, it was a pleasure to meet you. You’ll have to come try some more libations next time!


  • Eugenia says:

    A pleasure to finally meet you last night, Jeffrey! That absinthe-washed French 75 was delicious, thank you so much. The absinthe was just the perfect note to transform the drink into something rare and new, and I liked it less sweet than I usually make it. Really nice.

    So I waffled between that and the East of Eden — wanted to keep drinking but that’s hard to do when your companion is sticking to a single glass of white wine, alas. But now that I read the recipe, I almost regret not bulldozing ahead.

    I guess this means I get to see you again soon! 🙂

  • Anna says:

    no fruit! that’s cheating!
    but i guess i can forgive you seeing that drinking elderflower flavoured beverages is practically a national pastime in my husband’s homeland (sweden).

  • Jessica Hutchinson says:

    That looks and sounds delicious!

  • Marleigh says:

    I need one of these delivered to my house.

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