It takes an American to make a good French cocktail

by Mel Galarneau on February 16, 2011 | Comments Off on It takes an American to make a good French cocktail |

This past weekend, we here at Drink with Aloha gathered to celebrate the births of our Resident Beverage Chugger and Jen, an alcohol enthusiast and friend. The party started at a relaxed pace with friends slowly trickling in as the early afternoon passed into early evening. Beers were casually sipped and Gin & Fresca cocktails (deceptively delicious) were mixed and distributed. It was one of those days in which everything – the company, the weather, the food, the drinks (oh the drinks!) – contributed to one of the most perfect moments of 2011. Unfortunately, I had to work the late shift that night, forcing me to pick and choose from the amazing array of beverages.

Champagne Bubbles

I get no kick from Champagne... (without cognac, anyway)

As I was flipping through a book Justin received for his birthday called “Vintage Cocktails,” I rediscovered a drink that I had heard about and always wanted to try: the French 75. The French75 is a cocktail made with cognac, lemon juice, simple syrup, and champagne, though some recipes claim gin should take the place of cognac. It was created at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris and, according to Wikipedia, “was said to have such kick that it felt like being shelled with the powerful French 75mm howitzer artillery piece” – hence its name. In theory, the basic notion of cognac and champagne sounds decidedly disgusting.

Cognac on its own? Delicious.

Champagne on its own? Glorious.

Mixing the two? Sounds like a sorority social gone horribly wrong.

To be honest, the only reason it piqued my interest is because it’s called a French75 and I am a shameless Francophile.

I enthusiastically tried to convince my friends that we should make this drink (not that convincing them to try a new drink is difficult) despite not having simple syrup. Or lemons. Or champagne. Or cognac. Luckily, the Wine Pixie had a decent bottle of champagne laying around for just such an occasion and a decanter of unmarked Cognac (the best guess of the Lead Cork Dork) and some rummaging through the fridge uncovered some lemons and sugar.

Making this drink was a complete Drink with Aloha team effort. Jen whipped up some simple syrup, I juiced the lemons, The Spirits Gypsy taught me how to make a lemon twist garnish, and – not to be left out – the Supreme High Chancellor of Debauchery encouragingly mocked me as I poured the components into champagne flutes.

Sacré bleu! This drink is good!

C’était fort mais doux (It was strong but sweet) and surprisingly smooth considering its ingredients. It was so good, and we were so unwilling to share, that the High Chancellor and I snuck off to enjoy our elixir overlooking the dusk-colored ocean, discussing topics of the high-brow nature.

Despite its dainty appearance in the flute with the delicate lemon twist, this drink packs a punch. It knocked me right into naptime before work. I look forward to a weekend where I don’t have to work a 10pm-4am shift so I might be able to get irresponsible and drink several more of these.


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