As we enter July, the weather has taken a turn for the better and it seems that summer is finally here.

You can enjoy dining ‘en terrasse’ at most of our restaurants, be it watching the world go by on our pavement terraces or in the tranquillity of one of our shady gardens.

For those who prefer to keep cool, our air-conditioned brasseries offer sanctuary when the mercury rises. Hot weather tends to divide us in the UK, but whether you prefer to bask in the sun or to stay in the shade, you are sure to be refreshed by our July apéritif special – the St-Germain Gin & Tonic.

Made with equal parts of gin and St-Germain elderflower liqueur, a large scoop of ice and plenty of tonic water, we garnish with a cucumber ribbon and a sprig of French lavender to create an aromatic apéritif.

Made from the tiny white elderflowers that bloom for a few short weeks in late spring, St-Germain's flavour is both delicate and complex, with undertones of tropical fruits, peach, pear, citrus, and a hint of honeysuckle.

The ephemeral blossoms are picked entirely by hand to ensure that they are handled with the greatest of care. “We go from south to north, and more north, and more north again as we are following the blooming of the plant. It’s a race against time.” Since the flavour of St-Germain comes entirely from the natural elderflowers, it is essential that they are not damaged as this could affect the flavour and aroma of the resulting liqueur. Each bottle of St-Germain contains up to 1,000 of the freshest French elderflower heads. This careful harvesting process, and large volume of flowers used, results in an intensely fresh and natural flavour.

Once the elderflowers have been harvested, they are made using charmingly slow, ancient French techniques.  They begin by macerating the blooms in warm water over several hours. They then carefully remove the stems before blending the remaining liquid with previous mixtures, to ensure consistency of the liqueur’s unique flavour. The final infusion is then skilfully blended with eau-de-vie de vin, water, sugar, and neutral grain spirit to create the fragrant St-Germain elderflower liqueur.

Each of St-Germain’s striking, Art Deco-inspired bottles is numbered, to identify which year the flowers were picked. The bottle pictured here, for example, is a 2018 harvest.

To complement the floral tones in the St-Germain, we have chosen a garnish of French lavender.

Fragrant lavender fields are synonymous with Provençal summers, and were described by the French author Jean Giono, as ‘the soul of Provence’. From mid-June to early August, the purple patchwork fields of the Luberon region fill the air with their unmistakable aroma.

Join us for a St-Germain Gin & Tonic this July, close your eyes and imagine yourself transported to Provence – santé!