The cocktail is an art form that peaked in the middle of the 20th century and has been in rapid decline since. As a young lad, I was schooled in the fine art of cocktailing by my father and grandfathers, I learned many valuable lessons that I plan to pass on. I also want to resurrect some of the old classics that vastly surpass the sugary & fruity concoctions made today with their simplicity, elegance and bold flavors. Most of the time I will focus on one drink, and to provide, at least in my opinion, the definitive recipe, but hope to expand to other related topics as I see fit. Please mix yourself a cocktail, read, drink, and enjoy!

Friday, April 2, 2010

The French 75

I will never forget the first time I had ordered a French 75. It was New Years Eve and we had gone out to a little French bistro with a group of friends. As everyone was perusing the menu and ordering cocktails I looked over the list of house cocktails and saw the French 75. Always looking to try new drinks and thinking the combination of gin and champagne was interesting I decided to give it a shot.

Sitting next to me was a great friend and drinking buddy of mine. The waitress set down his standard bourbon in front of him and then set a champagne flute in front of me. My friend looked over with a confused look and in one sentence questioned my sexuality, insulted my wife and degraded the French before asking what it was. Once I told him, he asked if he could try it.

I have always enjoyed variations on the champagne cocktail served in the restaurants all over Paris and eagerly order the specialty of the house on most occasions. My current favorite is from the Rôtisserie du Beaujolais, but let’s save that for another time. The French 75 is slightly stronger than many other champagne based apéritifs, but a good balance of flavors.

I like the smooth flavor of Plymouth gin in this drink. Start with a cocktail shaker filled with ice and add 1 ounce of gin, add one teaspoon of bakers sugar (also called superfine and ultrafine) and the juice of one lemon wedge. Shake vigorously and pour into a champagne flute. Fill the remainder of the flute with the champagne (or prosecco) of your choice.

This is a great drink anytime of the day and all year long, but is very well suited to warm weather, green grass and lazy afternoons!

French 75
1 oz gin
½ tsp sugar
juice of 1 lemon wedge
In a cocktail shaker, combine the gin, sugar and lemon juice and shake well with cracked ice. Strain the gin mixture into a champagne flute. Top off with champagne.

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