I love a French 75. It’s one of those simple but elegant cocktails that’s refreshing and hits the spot, especially on a hot summer day.
The classic French 75 has four ingredients: Gin, lemon, simple syrup, and champagne. It’s not fussy, and doesn’t leave a lot of room for improvement. Sometimes, cognac is substituted for gin — I like this version if there’s a chill in the air or if it’s late at night. Usually, though, I don’t mess with perfection.
Unless, of course, I acquire a bottle of lilac gin.
My friend came to visit this weekend from my hometown Rochester, NY and brought along a bottle from Black Button Distilling.
You have to be careful these days with the plethora of craft distillers cropping up. Many of them receive mass-produced spirits and market them as craft liquor. Black Button, on the other hand, source their grain locally, and distill, age and bottle their products in-house.
Similar to lavender in cocktails, Black Button’s lilac gin pairs well with bright citrus and gives a light, herbaceous floral essence to cocktails.
If you don’t have lilac gin to stir into your French 75, you might try some lavender-infused simple syrup and traditional gin for a similar floral effect.
1 1/2 oz. Black Button Lilac Gin
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
Dry sparkling wine
Stir first 3 ingredients over ice. Strain into a champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine and garnish with a twist.