Giffard Liqueurs have been around since 1885, when French pharmacist Emile Giffard was looking for a way to incorporate the cooling and digestive properties of mint into a spirit. Recently, with the help of Erik Hakkinen, head bartender of the Zig Zag Café in Seattle, the liqueurs have finally arrived from the Loire Valley to the United States. Made by extracting fresh fruit in sugar beet alcohol with no artificial inputs, these are higher proof, less sweet and more intense than most. The Abricot du Roussillon in particular is a standout, extravagantly fruity and tart; also try the Banane du Brésil, an intensely tropical elixir that tastes like creamy ripe bananas drizzled with caramel. Use these in place of crème liqueurs in cocktails for a fl ash of flavor without the cloying sweetness.
Reviewed in W&S April 2014.