This liqueur came out of a conversation with Andrew Friedman and Keith Waldbauer, co-owners of Liberty Bar in Seattle (517 15th Avenue East). Nowhere else in Seattle combines pristine drinks with such an accommodating attitude and a splash of irreverence as Liberty, a small bar in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Andrew just told me about the white dog drink he made with a chamomile grappa liqueur, lemon bitters, and white dog, saying it was the first white dog drink he’d ever loved. That put the chamomile bee in my bonnet.
Recipe: Chamomile Liqueur
Summary: Forget whether or not you like chamomile tea; it’s akin to lowly shake for this recipe. The good stuff, nothing but flowers, smells like rolling in daisies strewn on wet hay.
- 1 1/2 cups chamomile flowers, highest quality
- 2 1/4 cups vodka, at least 80 proof
- 1 cup Lemon Coriander Syrup
- Combine the chamomile flowers and vodka, seal, and agitate daily for 4 days.
- Strain out the flowers, add the syrup.
- Strain again and transfer to a sterilized jar or bottle.
- This liqueur keeps for months, but after two months, its delicate edges will start to fade. Makes 3 Cups.
After I made the liqueur, I didn’t know what to do with it. I still make concoctions that never see the light of day. My friend Jay Kuehner, after drinking the liqueur, said, “This reminds me of all those Northern Italian herbal liqueurs, those things you love so much, like your beloved Strega,” he said. “I’d keep it as simple as possible so you don’t lose any of the chamomile. Most people drink chamomile tea with lemon, so just do that.”
—Maggie Savarino, author of The Seasonal Cocktail Companion
Try it in The Betty White cocktail