Génépi is actually the name of an Alpine flower that blooms once a year in and around the Savoie region of France. The flower can be picked during the months of July and August.
You are likely to have come across the Génépi liqueur after a long mountain lunch because it is traditionally served in the Savoie area as a digestif. Or arguably as one of the most popular après-ski drinks at any bar in the Italian, French or Swiss Alps. The taste is very unique.
Génépi can also be found in chocolates, sweets, biscuits, coffee and desserts throughout the Alps.
Génépi is traditionally used in the sharing of a ‘grolle’ combined with hot coffee, lemon zest and sugar. A grolle is a wooden container with a number of spouts that is passed around the table after a meal, and not put down until finished.
There are good Génépi’s liqueurs and there are bad. If it is served bright green in colour it has usually had colouring added to it. Natural Génépi, in our experience, varies from a light gold colour to a light green colour.
Génépi flowers grow high up in the mountains, but you can buy packets of Génépi flowers from shops in the local area.
How to make your own Génépi liqueur
It is quite a lot of fun to serve Génépi as a digestif after a chalet dinner, and brings a bit of tradition to the meal. Make your own in batches over the summer and store in a cool place for the winter.
The rule for making your own Génépi liqueur is to remember the number 40.
- 1 litre 40% alcohol
- 40 flowers
- 40 grams of sugar
Dissolve the sugar in the alcohol in a jar or bottle. Then add the flowers (along with the stems) and seep for a minimum of 40 days in a cool resting place. Seep longer for a more intense flavour.
Even when ready, we like to keep the flowers inside the bottle on the shelf because it looks really nice.