Tuesday, July 19, 2011

French 75

Jim got home the other night from a man-cation of camping in the Ozark’s with his college buddies. We were about 5 minutes past the airport he said ‘Wow, I could use a French 75.’ I guess all the fishing, canoeing, living like pigs, fire and playing war games over saturated Jim in man-funk and he was ready to atone for those 5 days with a tall, pretty cocktail. Although I’m unclear about how manly a trip it was since Jim came home clean and toting a bottle of Jameson’s that was more than 3/4 full.

The French 75, named for the WW1 machine gun because of its potency. This is the beverage for me. It is the Cinderella’s glass slipper of beverages. Look at it, seriously, don’t you want to dive right in? It’s gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and sparkling wine. There is some contention that it should be made with brandy and not gin. My personal preference is gin. However, I had an absolutely amazing one with cognac at The Driskill in Austin. If you have not been to the Driskill and find yourself nearby, and I mean like Houston, Dallas or Oklahoma nearby, go. Actually it was so amazing I had three.

To compromise on the brandy versus gin debate I add a brandied cherry to mine. Who doesn’t want a brandied cherry as a treat for finishing a delicious cocktail? I make simple syrup and keep it in the fridge. I usually have fresh lemons on hand but I have been know to juice lemons getting long in the tooth and freeze the juice. The brandied cherries will keep for months in the fridge, just use a clean spoon or a toothpick when retrieving them.

Have this drink tonight. It’s 97 degrees here. I am going to make some tonight and Jim and I can sit quietly on the porch in front of the fan, sipping our cocktails.

French 75 - Makes 2

3 ounces dry gin - I use Bombay Extra Dry

1 ounce simple syrup

1.5 ounces lemon juice

Lemon zest

Sparkling wine - I use either Gloria Ferrer or Chandon rose or brut varieties

Brandied cherries - optional

Combine the gin, simple syrup and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker and shake over ice, pour into a champagne glass top off with champagne, add in the cherry and using a zester peel off a 2” strip of lemon peel, peel the zest over the glass so the lemon oil from the rind spritzes on to the glass.

Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

Combine both in a pot and heat over medium heat until both are combined, this takes just a few minutes. Cool to room temperature and store in the fridge.

Brandied Cherries

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1.5 cups brandy

Juice of 1 lemon

1 lb. cherries, pitted

Bring the liquids to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Put the cherries in a tupperware or glass jar and pour the brandy liquid over top let cool and place in the fridge. The cherries get better with time, store them for at least a month before using. They should stay perfectly fine for several months in the fridge as long as no contaminants get in the container.

** Notes - Do not double this recipe, it certainly can be cut in half. I use the Gloria or Chandon because they are inexpensive but any champagne, sparkling wine or Prosecco will work.

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