A lot of people will be really happy to see 2016 end. For many, they can’t stand the negativity in local and national politics. For us, though, 2016 has been hard because of all the people that left us too soon like Prince, Rickman, Bowie, Cole, Yelchin, Cohen, Ali, Wilder and many others. The bartending world lost a young talent as well- Robert J. Cooper. You may not know the name, but if you spent any time in the Firewater Lounge (and Lord knows, most of you have), chances are good that you tasted his mighty contribution to the world of spirits.
Just ten years ago, and at a tender age of 29, Cooper invented St-Germain elderflower liqueur. Confident that his new creation would sell, Cooper left his father’s liqueur company and went on the road to convince bartenders across the country to add St-Germain to their shelves (his father was not as confident and told young Robert that he could have his job back when he failed). Cooper’s pitch, the classy Art Deco bottle, and the taste of the liqueur was so good that bars bought it in droves. St-Germain was so popular that it became known as ‘bartender’s ketchup.’ When we picked up our first bottle in the late 2000s, St-Germain was so ubiquitous that I had no idea at the time that it was a modern liqueur.
At present time, there is no information on how Robert Cooper died. Given the continuing paucity of liqueurs on the market currently, Cooper’s death at 39 is a terrible loss. In his memory we’ll pour a new Classic, one whose name eerily coincides with the season and situation.
1 1/2 ounces St-Germain
1 1/2 ounces Aperol
2 ounces fresh blood orange juice
3 ounces champagne
1/2 serrano pepper
Muddle a half of a serrano pepper into a mixing glass. Add St-Germain, Aperol, orange juice, and ice. Stir 30-40 revolutions. Double strain into a large glass. Carefully add chilled champagne. Stir gently so as not to disturb the carbonation.