This delicious cocktail is literally heaven in a glass. Okay, well maybe not literally, but pretty friggin close.
I recently had a French themed dinner party, for which I chose the French 75 as our aperitif. Of course since I can never be satisfied with a regular old recipe, I had to play with and be all mad scientist about it. Usually I will test out a few trial runs by myself so that I don’t poison my guests, or at least start the night out with the fancy flavor of vomit on their palettes. That happened once.
This night, however, I wasn’t feeling my usual self and had taken on a rather large 4 course menu with many complex elements, so I decided to wing it. Screw it if they don’t like it, it’s booze, what the hell can go so wrong with booze? I know, the vomit thing.
Anyway, I searched out a few recipes in one of my favorite resources, an amazing little cocktail book ‘Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails’ suggested by some dear friends and given to me by the wonderful man in my life.
And there it was: the French 75. The photo looked splendid, and the drink sounded very clean and refreshing, perfect to prepare the pallet for my meal.
The story goes that this lovely cocktail is named after the French 75-mm gun, model of 1897. This bit of heavy artillery was the mainstay weapon of WWI, and its recoil system made for soft, smooth operation. It was really the first technical weaponry advance of the twentieth century, and its use continued into WWII.
This cocktail was very popular in the US at the famed Stork Club in New York, my absolute dream club! Too bad it closed 10 years before I was born. But just imagine sitting in the Stork Club, sipping on a French 75 while a bedazzled singer croons soft ballads in the background.
So I decided it’s bad ass and smooth. I like it, done deal!
To my surprise, the simple recipe reads like this; 2 ounces of gin, 1 ounce of lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of sugar or 1 teaspoon of simple syrup and champagne to fill the glass.
Hmmm, that’s it? That’s all? It sounded so easy and boring, there is no way that was it.
So I said ‘screw it’ and decided to mess with it. I had time for just 1 test run and I didn’t want to be passed out on the floor with my crinoline over my head before the guests arrived.
Here is the Sailor version of the French 75:
- 2 ounces of basil infused gin ( my fav gin at the moment is this organic Prairie gin)
- 1/2 ounce of fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce of fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 teaspoon of homemade simple syrup from organic raw sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of apricot brandy
- pink champagne to fill the glass (I usually prefer vintage goblets, but for this I chose a flute)
- garnish with a lemon rind twist rolled in raw sugar
And voila! It was superb.
So there you have it, my ooh la la for the evening. Try it at your next cocktail party or dinner and let me know what you think.