This Wartime Concoction Packs a Delicious Punch
“Hits with remarkable precision.” “Knocks you flat.” This is how early 19th century cocktail experts and writers described le Soixante-Quinze, or French 75. Rightly so, as the drink was appropriately named for the remarkably powerful, rapid-fire gun with an explosive-shell 75-millimeter cannon. This weapon is said to have been the saving grace of the French Army in their stand against Germany in World War I, and when a concoction of gin, champagne, lemon and sugar hit the bar scene shortly after the war and proved to be nearly as potent as the gun itself, those in the know christened the drink “French 75.”
The French 75 cocktail is decidedly lovelier than its armament namesake, though its preparation and presentation have varied greatly over the decades. The original, first introduced in Paris’s New York Bar, was a ruby-red mixture of gin, apple brandy, lemon juice and grenadine and served in a leggy cocktail glass. Other iterations have involved calvados, powdered sugar and even absinthe mixed with the gin and lemon base, with the modern-day addition of champagne introduced in the roaring ‘20’s. High ball glasses, champagne flutes and gilded coupes have all been used to serve it with its signature lemon twist on the rim.
Like so many Parisian styles and fashions over the years, the French 75 cocktail has evolved, yet remained popular among the most stylish elite. And we can think of nowhere more posh to sip one than the bars, lounges and open decks of a Crystal ship as you sail to the picturesque harbors in France. Until then, bring this post-war favorite to your own home bar.
Crystal’s French 75
5 oz. Roederer Estate sparkling wine
1 oz. Tanqueray No. 10 gin
1 oz. Fresh Lemon Sour
Mix the gin and lemon sour and shake well, then add the sparkling wine. Serve in a champagne flute a lemon peel spiral on the rim.
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