September 13, 2010

"French" Cocktails

French 75

As I said earlier, Myrna and I hosted a cocktail party for some girlfriends this friday.  And we made the most stunning cocktails: the "French 68" and the "French 75". Taken from Gourmet Magazine's wonderful Cocktails by the decades recipes, the French 68 and French 75 are two champagne and lemon cocktails that, like all good cocktails, greater than the sum of their parts.  Balanced, bright, smooth: they are lovely summer drinks.

The French 75 was invented in 1915 to commemorate the "Canon de 75 modele 1897", a 75mm gun of the French Army.  I am not sure why it deserves a namesake cocktail, but, the drink does hit "with remarkable precision"--as The Savoy Cocktail author Harry Craddock says.

We served both this drinks in champagne coupes rather than highballs. This meant there was less champagne, and so they were a little gentler. Plus, they looked cooler. But I'd love to try them in highballs, and see whether they remain balanced and fresh.


1 part dry gin
1 tsp simple syrup
juice of 1/2 lemon
Brut Champagne

Half fill a cocktail shaker with cracked ice and add 1 jigger dry gin, 1 teaspoon bar syrup [simple syrup] and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Shake the mixture vigorously and strain it into a highball glass packed with cracked ice. Fill the glass with chilled Champagne.

FRENCH 68

I can find no historical information on The French 68--even the original recipe that I discovered last friday seems to be gone from Gourmet's site.  But it is basically the same, only with Brandy, and no simple syrup.

1 part brandy
juice of 1/2 lemon
Brut Champagne

Half fill a cocktail shaker with cracked ice and add 1 jigger brandy and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Shake the mixture vigorously and strain it into a highball glass packed with cracked ice. Fill the glass with chilled Champagne.

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