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The Comte St. Germain’s Poison

The Comte St. Germain’s Poison

Beyond the Books, Dragonfly in Amber

“Drink, Monsieur,” said the King.  The dark eyes were hooded once more, showing nothing.  “Or are you afraid?”

The Comte might have a number of things to his discredit, but cowardice wasn’t one of them.  His face was pale and set, but he met the King’s eyes squarely, with a slight smile.

“No, Majesty,” he said.

He took the cup from my hand and drained it, his eyes fixed on mine.  They stayed fixed, staring into my face, even as they glazed with the knowledge of death.  The White Lady may turn a man’s nature to good, or to destruction.

The Comte’s body hit the floor, writhing, and a chorus of shouts and cries rose from the hooded watchers, drowning any sound he might have made.  His heels drummed briefly, silent on the flowered carpet; his body arched, then subsided into limpness.  The snake, thoroughly disgruntled, struggled free of the disordered folds of white satin and slithered rapidly away, heading for the sanctuary of Louis’s feet.

All was pandemonium.

Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber (Chapter 27 – An Audience with His Majesty)

The Comte St. Germain’s story is too strange to be fiction.  He is, in fact, a real-life gem, plucked straight out of the pages of history by Diana, and thrown by her into the fracas-filled adventures of Jamie’s & Claire’s time in France.

A man of many names and reputations — royal confidante, composer and musician, inventor, alchemist, occultist, immortal, charlatan – the Comte St. Germain traveled and lived all over Europe in his 70+ years.  He was the original International Man of Mystery.

Throughout it’s history, Paris has been described as a mélange curieux, a curious mixture of flavors, styles and influences.  One of its more notorious 18th C residents, the Comte could be characterized in the same way.

As could the liqueur that bears his same name.

St. Germaine's Poison

St. Germain is an artisanal liqueur made in France from handpicked elderflowers.  The flavour is subtle yet complex, and with half of the sugar of most other liqueurs, St. Germaine is never cloying. When you pair it with a common G&T, its lightly floral and honeyed sweetness perks up the gin at the same time it takes the bitter edge off the tonic, or, if you prefer, the poison of your choice.  Bitter cascara, anyone?

As with many of my Beyond the Books recipes, this one came about after a good deal of bandying about online.  I have been lucky enough to fall into a wonderful group of Outlander fans on Facebook — women who I talk type to everyday.  One friend, Lori, and I have become especially close.  She is OK’s number one recipe tester and idea bouncer off-er, all from almost 3000 miles away.

I’ve gotten to know her husband, JZ, pretty well too.  He’s not an Outlander fan, but we’ll forgive him because he concocted this delicious cocktail that I spent most of the summer enjoying.  He has christened it the Zesper, a combination of James Bond’s Vesper and the Z in his own last name.

To make it the way its creator intended, there are a couple of things you should know:  Hendricks is his gin of choice, and a lime twist, while adequate, will never equal that of a lemon.

Comte St. Germain's Poison

Admiring my glowing goblet?  It’s a souvenir Frodo glass from the Lord of the Rings.  Purchased at Burger King in 2001, it has shown a supernatural lifespan worthy of the Comte.  Miraculous, actually.

(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)

The Comte St. Germain’s Poison (Gin Zesper)

:A spirited, sophisticated cocktail made from gin, tonic, and lightly sweetened with St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur.  Poison never tasted so good.

Yield:  1 Zesper

  • Gin – 1½ oz
  • St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur – ½ to ¾ oz
  • Tonic – to taste
  • Ice
  • Lemon Twist

Pour the gin and St. Germaine over ice into your highball/old-fashioned glass of choice, top up with tonic, and add the twist.

Make a second drink for a friend, toast the Comte, and ponder the here, the now and the everlasting.


  1. Kris Holtan
    October 22, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Your glowing goblet is perfect

  2. Ms. Aaron Brown
    October 22, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Outlander and James Bond together–I may swoon! Great looking drink!

    • Theresa
      October 25, 2012 at 7:10 am

      I think you may be on to something, Aaron…they would work well together, I think!

  3. Cat V
    October 22, 2012 at 9:40 am

    I think I will have to try this drink very soon. Now to get my hands on some St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur. Thanks for the post and recipe 🙂

    • Theresa
      October 25, 2012 at 7:10 am

      My pleasure, Cat!

  4. sunshineyness
    October 22, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Aw man. I had two of those goblets until an ex-roomate (accidentally, I never hold a broken glass against anyone when it’s not in malice) broke them about 5 years ago. I still totally miss them

    • Theresa
      October 25, 2012 at 7:09 am

      That is a sad tale, Sunshineyness! I would miss our goblets if something happened to them. 😀

  5. Aly Fields
    October 22, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    This looks very dangerous but very fun. I love Outlander Kitchen!,

    • Theresa
      October 25, 2012 at 7:09 am

      Thanks, Aly! Visit again soon!

  6. liquidentertainer
    October 23, 2012 at 4:08 am

    Reblogged this on Liquid-E.

  7. Alyson
    October 23, 2012 at 5:53 am

    Gorgeous goblet! My liquor store does not seem to have this liqueur, but I will keep looking. Thanks as always for the creative kitchen ideas!

    • Theresa
      October 25, 2012 at 7:09 am

      You may have to ask them to order it in, Alyson.

  8. Bri
    October 23, 2012 at 6:11 am

    Very cool post, and I know we had some of those goblets many years ago! (My father-in-law works in corporate at Burger King and aquires lots of promotional goodies…I still have the life-size glass clings of the Twilight cast!) I will keep an eye out for this St. Germaine Elderflower liqueur.

    P.S. Hubs was ready to bust out the Cherry Bounce this weekend and I told him we must hold out until Hogmanay!

    • Theresa
      October 25, 2012 at 7:05 am

      I sampled the bounce, for quality control purposes, of course, last night. It was verra, verra good!

  9. ruaTimeTraveler2
    October 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Your displaying presentations are always the best…

    • Theresa
      October 24, 2012 at 9:55 am

      Thanks, Vickie!

  10. denizb33
    October 30, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    I wish I had a Frodo glass to sip this from! Hmm, must be one on eBay…

  11. Georgia at In Search of a Muse
    March 11, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Saint Germaine is my *favorite* liqueur of all time. Try mixing it about one to four with a brut or off-dry sparkling wine. I tend to use blanc de noirs from Domaine Ste-Michelle here in WA because it’s about US$10 a bottle.

    It is absolutely celestial.

    • Theresa
      March 11, 2013 at 9:43 am

      Great tips!

  12. Mary M
    August 7, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Sounds good! Thanks for all the great recipes, I made Lord John’s steak and mushroom pie for last week’s on demand premiere party and it was a big hit!

    • Theresa
      August 7, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      My pleasure, Mary!

  13. Jahna
    August 15, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    I’d love to try this but for health reasons I’m off all alcohol for a while. But this sounds delicious!

    I admit I haven’t gone through the whole OK recipe list but can you tell me if there are drinks I can make “virgin”?

    • Theresa
      August 15, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      Most of the cocktails really need booze…but how about making a shrub? You can mix it with soda for a refreshing, colonial-period beverage!

  14. changeling
    October 31, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Hmm.. may I assume this is an adult ‘sugar crash?
    happy Samhain!!!

  15. Paul A
    November 8, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    Loved this drink. I happen to have one of the Lord of the Rings goblets in the picture so it was a perfect pairing. There exists a Saint Germain’s tea and Saint Germain’s soup as well. I have the recipes if interested. I researched the Count for many years and published a novel, ‘The Man Who Would Not Die,’ solely on his historical adventures throughout Europe. More at my website

  16. Adeline
    May 6, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    Love this recipe and I adore St. Germain. Its also great with NY state dry Rieslings, another favorite. And the wine country in NY even looks a bit like Scotland . . .
    Thank you, love your recipes. Atholl Brose was our cocktail all winter long. Nice and creamy for my friend and hubby who are both dairy free.
    Keep them coming. Also, ever looked to Nova Scotia for inspiration?

    • Jahna
      May 7, 2015 at 1:50 pm

      NY has some of the most amazingly beautiful vineyards!
      OK I’m biased. I lived not far from them and I’ve never seen any others.

      But if you’re ever on Long Island you have to go out east and see the vineyards!!

  17. Jahna
    May 7, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    I may have missed this in the past so please forgive me…

    Do you have any good recipes for virgin drinks? I’ve been battling and WINNING the fight against Hepatitis C (I finish treatment on Monday – we’ll know in Aug if the meds really “took” – by I miss my cocktails once in a while!

    Jahna (@lovebug75)

    • Theresa
      May 8, 2015 at 8:56 am

      Not yet…but let me put my mind to that…

  18. Jean
    March 31, 2016 at 5:37 am

    When I do have a drink in the summer, my choice is gin and tonic. I have had fun reading your posts. I will have to try this.

  19. Jennifer Lasell
    April 3, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Hi Therese!
    I was just wondering if you had a gin recommendation. I find your alcohol recommendations are fantastic! Please forgive my muddled brain if you have already left a recommendation.

    • Theresa
      April 4, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      If you’re looking for a Scottish gin, both Hendrick’s and the Botanist are excellent. Around here, we drink a lot of Bombay Sapphire too.

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