A new, locally produced dandelion liqueur is on the prowl.
In recent years, St. Louis has seen a boom in local spirits, with creators opening up their own distilleries or partnering with existing ones to bring their recipes to market. The latest of these potent potables to hit the scene is Lion’s Tooth, a decidedly different liqueur.
Lion’s Tooth is a joint project from siblings Maria and Gabe Kveton (the latter is the owner of Water Street in Maplewood), and longtime friend Bethany Holohan. The essence of the spirit is dandelion—the name Lion’s Tooth refers to the French term for the flower—which lends a unique, earthy and powerful flavor profile to the final product.
The idea came when Gabe and Maria came across a handwritten recipe at their grandmother’s house for dandelion wine that their great-uncle had made. The idea of utilizing dandelion in a spirited beverage sparked their imaginations, and after experimenting with flavor combinations, the team took their final recipe to Crown Valley Brewing and Distilling in Ste. Genevieve.
Their ultimate creation, though, is far removed from that original faded family recipe. The base of Lion’s Tooth is brandy, which lends some sweetness, as well as a hefty dose of alcohol: The spirit clocks in at 39 percent ABV. Instead of dandelion flowers, which are generally used for the lighter dandelion wine, Lion’s Tooth uses the roots, which are dried, macerated and then steeped at a low heat to release all of the plant’s earthy aromas and flavor.
“We’re really happy with the way it turned out,” Gabe says. “And we’re really curious what others are going to do with it.” He’s already turned out a variety of libations, like this Lion’s Den cocktail now served at Water Street.
1 oz Lion’s Tooth
1 oz Fords Gin
1 oz Dolin Sweet Vermouth
Stir all ingredients, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel.
St. Louisans can purchase Lion’s Tooth at Randall’s Wine & Spirits, Parker’s Table and The Wine and Cheese Place. Other cocktail recipes are available at lionstoothliqueur.com. Gabe says Maria, who also designed the Lion’s Tooth label, is busy coming up with cooking applications as well.
Photo by Chistopher Gibbons.