When I picture New Year’s Eve, I imagine something out of The Great Gatsby; gold and pearls dripping everywhere, flapper dresses, fitted suits, vintage music and cocktails served on silver trays. Everything is fancy and classy and unlike any New Year’s Eve I’ve ever experienced. This year, I was determined to have an element of the Gatsby-esque New Year’s Eve I’ve always wanted.
One of my favorite cocktails is the French 75 – gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and champagne. It’s a mix of sweet and dryness that is perfectly on point. I order one every time I see it on a bar menu because I never think to keep champagne at home to make my own. When am I going to drink a whole bottle of champagne, really? I’m moving up in the world, but I’m not that fancy yet.
I was looking up recipes for French 75s and saw some that included St. Germain, my favorite liqueur! St. Germain is a French liqueur made from elderflowers and is not traditionally in French 75s, but I was thrilled to have an excuse to buy some. It’s a very sweet liqueur that is balanced well by a unique, flowery taste. And it comes in a gorgeous, Gatsby-esque bottle, so how could I not have some for my classy New Year’s cocktails?
I’m pretty new to making cocktails at home – I usually just pour some liquor and mixer into a glass and let it mix itself, so when this recipe called for using a shaker that I don’t own, I had to figure out another way to mix everything. I also made it harder on myself because I wanted to use honey instead of simple syrup (yay, natural sugars!), which doesn’t mix easily.
When in doubt, keep it simple – I grabbed a small whisk and a bowl. I (generously) measured the gin and St. Germain with a shot glass and poured them into the measuring cup with the lemon juice and honey. I whisked it like mad to fully incorporate the honey and it worked!
When the liquors, lemon juice and honey were fully mixed, I split the mixture between two glasses. French 75s are traditionally served in champagne flutes or martini glasses, but like the cocktail shaker that I don’t own, I don’t have those either. I used my two wine glasses (goblets, really…) and poured in champagne…. a lot of champagne….
These French 75s were lovely! They were light and sweet, but had enough dryness from the gin to keep the cocktail from tasting cloying. The honey and St. Germain were delicious together, and mellowed out the tart lemon juice. The champagne highlighted the lemon well, but it also gave this drink that classic element that I was looking for from Jay Gatsby’s parties, where people drank champagne just to be fancy. Making classic and classy cocktails will definitely become a new tradition for me on New Year’s Eve. And by next year, I’ll have bought champagne flutes and a real cocktail shaker!
Recipe for French 75s – adapted from ohsobeautiulpaper.com
Yields 2 cocktails
2 oz. gin
1 oz. St. Germain
1/2 bottle champagne
1 oz. lemon juice
1 T honey
Pour gin, St. Germain, lemon juice and honey together in a bowl. Whisk until fully mixed. Split between 2 glasses of your choice. Pour in champagne to fill.