Home / Special  / Born in the summer sun – 
The story of Giffard

Born in the summer sun – 
The story of Giffard


It all started with a mint

In the summer of 1885 this story begins. Emile Giffard, a dispensing pharmacist in Angers, France, was researching the digestive and refreshing properties of mint. This was a particularly hot summer, and people were suffering from it. To battle this, Emile came up with a pure, clear and refined white mint liqueur which he tested on the Grand Hotel’s guests, just as a bartender tries his new concoctions on his guests to this day.

He decided to change his pharmacy into a distillery and called his liqueur 
Menthe-Pastille, referring to the mint sweets famous at that time.

Change of the times

Now, even though still being a family run company (5th generation), their wide range of products are sold in over 70 countries. With over 150 different products in many different ranges, there is more than enough to choose from than “just” Menthe-Pastille, although that particular one has won many awards to this day!

“Hidden” treasures

One of the joys of discovering the range of Giffard has been the many products i was unaware of that were theirs, such as the agave sec, which was co-created by Simon Difford, who will actually be present for a seminar at Perfect Serve as well!

Or their Demonio de los Andes, which was actually the first Pisco we ever served at Door 74.

Giffard pledges to quality, meaning at the beginning there are just fruits and plants.
As they put it: “Liqueur is the essential ingredient that will give its aromatic note to cocktails. It must keep its promise.”

Time for a drink

Another product that won my appreciation immediately was their China-China. It is a truly wonderful Amaro-like liquid that i love to work with.

Just as Emile Giffard wanted to quench the thirst of sun-burned guests, so too have i in my small way hoped to have created a drink that will help the sun burned Dutch!

The Half Siesta

30 ml China-China
30 ml Burschik white vermouth
15 ml Giffard ceme de cacao white
½ lime squeezed well
Top up with Fever-Tree ginger beer

Glass: longdrink
Technique: build over ice cubes
Garnish: spent ½ lime, mint and cacao dust

If you would like to see the Giffard range in action: there are more and more places in & outside Amsterdam where you can enjoy their broad assortiment. A rather new place is the “Jonge Admiraal” on the Javastraat in Amsterdam. Their crew will start in June with 2 cocktail menu’s: 1 for the summer and one later on, based on the winter months. Both will contain various products of the Giffard range including, prominently, the China-China. Its staff agreed (as do I) that it certainly could not to be overlooked.

Come and visit the Giffard stand at Perfect Serve Barshow Amsterdam on 23 and 24 of May and try their remarkable range for yourself!

Words by: Timo Janse
Pictures: Giffard/Kevin Kroon

Na verschillende functies in de horeca, kwam Ming in 2002 in aanraking met cocktails. Vanaf toen was hij vaak achter de bar te vinden tot hij besloot om weer te studeren. Maar zijn horecaverleden kon hij niet laten rusten en besloot in 2009 Sensez.nl op te richten om informatie te voorzien aan de steeds groeiende bartenderscene! Naast oprichter van Sensez.nl is hij fotograaf met als specialisme horeca!