Get to Know Camille Vidal
Updated: Apr 2, 2020
From: The South of France, from a region called the Languedoc Roussillon
Since then: Traveling and living in different countries over the past 6 year
Currently: Resides in New York
Pursuit: Global Brand Ambassador for St-Germain, also known as Madame St. Germain
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. I’m French, and I very much embrace my culture—aperitif is a lifestyle for me. I love to host aperitifs and share my culture and my passion for cocktails with the people around me. Oh, and I live on cheese and think a day without cheese is a sad day! WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY LIKE FOR YOU? My role as Madame St~Germain Global Brand Ambassador is so diverse. There are never two days the same and that’s why I love it so much. I have the chance to work with talented bartenders around the world, help and support this industry grow, and of course spread the love for the award-winning world’s first French elderflower liqueur. I have the opportunity to meet amazing people and share my passion about cocktails, aperitif and French culture all around the world. WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON? I’ve recently been working on building a team which has been amazing! After over 4 years on the brand, I built L’equipe St~Germain this year. This is 10 passionate and talented bartenders who help me spread the love of St~Germain around the country. It’s been wonderful to work with them and mentor them. WHAT’S YOUR DEFINITION OF A COCKTAIL?
For me, a cocktail is more than just a drink. I grew up in France where the aperitif is very much part of our culture and I always say it’s more than a drink, it’s a way of life. Having an aperitif is an opportunity to catch up with friends and family, and it’s a very sociable moment. A cocktail for me is taking the time to appreciate a good thing…to stop and smell the roses. CAN YOU RECALL A PARTICULARLY ELABORATE COCKTAIL? WHAT’S THE PROCESS BEHIND CREATING A MASTERPIECE DRINK? Drinks are getting better and better, and bartenders are becoming more talented than ever. I remember when I started bartending years ago, I was learning about classic cocktails while learning the menu where I worked. Then it hit me—I realized that making cocktails was a lot like cooking with how you work with flavors, technique, and presentations. In the past few years I’ve seen the line between chef and bartenders getting thinner and thinner. WHAT’S YOUR DEFINITION OF A GREAT HOST? Hosting is my favorite thing! I’ve definitely learned that from my family and the culture in my country, we love hosting people at home. It’s very often to have friends and family over for an aperitif. I found it wonderful to host, make drinks for everyone, have little bites, music, dress the table…Create an experience that your guest will appreciate and enjoy. WHAT MAKES ELDERFLOWER LIQUER SO SPECIAL?
St. Germain was the world’s first elderflower liqueur created. Very much inspired by the heritage and savoir faire of the French in the liqueur business, St~Germain is a bridge between tradition and modernity. Made with 100% fresh elderflowers that we handpick once a year in the late spring, St~Germain has an incredible taste and versatility which makes it an incredible cocktail ingredient. You can mix St~Germain with any spirit, wine or champagne, and it will always enhance your drinks. That’s how it earns its reputation as a bartender’s ‘salt & pepper’. TOP 3 COCKTAILS, YEAR-ROUND? It’s very hard for me to pick 3 because it very much depends on my mood, the weather, and the moment. St~Germain is so versatile, you can really go in any direction with it. ! For sure ‘The St-Germain Cocktail’, our light and refreshing spritz is a perfect daytime or aperitif cocktail. ! Anything that involves vermouth or sherry. I’m all about low ABV cocktails. ‘St-Germain Sherry Cobbler’ with amontillado sherry is always a winner for me. ! Also, nightcap style cocktails. I love a stirred drink with St-Germain.
WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO DRINK? If I had to pick one cocktail it would be for sure ‘The St-Germain Cocktail’ with St-Germain, dry sparkling wine, and sparkling water served in a tall glass over ice with a lemon twist. This light and refreshing cocktail is perfect for many occasions from brunch, to afternoon cocktails, to aperitif. Everybody loves this drink it’s so easy to make and enjoy! WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT YOUR CAREER? I love that I learn new things every day, and feel intellectually challenged and inspired. After a few years at art school in France, I went to university and studied marketing, event-management and communications. I’ve always worked in hospitality, but I was introduced to cocktails after I graduated and moved to Australia. There, I felt in love with it. I felt like making cocktails was my way to express my creativity. When the opportunity with St-Germain came along, it was a no brainer. I love and believe in the brand; it’s French, and it was a way for me to bring together everything I learned from the art, to my university degree, to making cocktails and working in hospitality.
HOW DO YOU STAY INSPIRED? People inspire me all the time, from the people I work with to the ones I get to meet along the road. It’s a very creative and dynamic community in the drink industry. LIFE AND YOUR CAREER HAVE TAKEN YOU TO MANY PARTS OF THE WORLD. ANY PLACE IN PARTICULAR YOU’VE BEEN INSPIRED THE MOST? I don’t have a favorite place. I’ve been lucky to live in many different countries including France, Australia, and U.K., and now the USA. I’m currently based in NYC and with my job I have the opportunity to go to many incredible places around the world and I get inspired from them all the time. Mexico was a great discovery for me this year. I also had the chance to go to Tokyo and was mind-blown by the culture and attention to detail. WORDS TO LIVE BY? Stop and smell the roses, always make the time to appreciate good things in life. WHAT’S ONE THING YOU’VE TAKEN/LEARNED FROM YOUR YEARS IN THIS BUSINESS? Adapt, be flexible and always challenge yourself and exceed expectations. Also, remind yourself to think out of the box. WHAT UPCOMING PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN THE COMING MONTHS? I’m working on a book about cocktails through the day, from brunch to aperitif to dinner to nightcap, looking at cocktails by occasion instead of just recipes. This has been a very exciting project to work on in partnership with PUNCH Creative.