So either I have just never been the type to save champagne for a special occasion or my definition of a special occasion is more relaxed than other people’s. My suspicion is that I am equally afflicted with both tendencie
s. It doesn’t really matter as long as Madame Cliquot makes enough of her special recipe to ensure there are no shortages. Champagne can't make a party if its still sitting in the refrigerator or sitting at the market. Set it free!
One thing I have been somewhat resistant to is mixing an otherwise good champagne with juices and liqueurs. It seems borderline cruel to me. Why would you do this to an otherwise perfectly good champagne that has done nothing to harm you?
It is true there are occasions such as the all-you-can-drink-champagne brunch where he swill that they try to pass off for champagne will require you to douse it with a heavy pour of orange juice. Often it is the only way you can avoid retching while getting that alcohol in your bloodstream. Under these circumstances mixing OJ into the bubbly is not cruelty but rather an act of self-defense.
good champagne minding its own business while not harming anyone should never be treated this way. Ever. Almost. Well, maybe. OK, It might be just fine if you do it right. Read on:
One way to say no to champagne cruelty is to say ‘no’ to the all-you-can-drink-champagne hampagne brunches that feature it. (It is probably not real champagne anyway.) Either pony up for a real bottle of champagne or just order a Bloody Mary from the bar instead. (Kettle One please!)
The Mimosa as you should have guessed by now is pretty much a no-go with me as pure bubbly is my preference. I'm a purist!
Then I discovered the French 75 . Its sophisticated cooperation of ingredients forced me to rethink my whole ‘champagne purist’ credential. This cocktail is much more than the usual and unwelcome interference of juice with an otherwise perfect beverage. These ingredients take champagne’s electric flavors to an entirely new dimension without destroying them altogether. (Hello mimosa. I'm talking about you!)
French flying ace Raoul Lufbery was a man who apparently really loved champagne and didn’t want to hurt it. He developed the French 75 and named it for a WW I artillery gun: a 75mm howitzer. Get it? French 75!
If you aren’t careful both the cocktail and the gun have the power to knock you down to the ground. This of course makes it the perfect beverage with which to toast my new French bistro meets turn-of-the-century saloon blog look. Cheers everyone!
Every time I enjoy one of these I end up enjoying several so forgive me if I was understandably foggy as to some its specifics.
I checked myself in over at The Intoxicologist blog and put myself in the care of its beautiful proprietres Cheri Laughlin – a true sorceress of mixology . I knew she would answer any lingering doubts I had as to how to mix this one up. She herself is the inventor of some pretty astounding cocktails which she generously shares along with some well thought out commentary and actual database research on some of the more classic cocktails of the world. As expected she cleared up any residual doubts I had about the ingredients and proportions required to celebrate with a proper French 75! (Cognac please, no gin.)
I hope you will go visit her!
The French 75 – as adapted from the Intoxicologist
- 1-1/2 ounce Courvoisier cognac
- 1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce bar syrup (I used 1.5x simple syrup, perhaps a tad less)
- Dry champagne
- Orange twist for garnish