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The French 77

May 17, 2012

st germain bottle top

One of the Freds’ favorite things to do when in a new city is to find the fanciest hotel in town and enjoy a round of cocktails in the bar. The cocktails are usually only minimally more expensive than any other bar and the service, ambiance and relative feeling of decadent luxury makes up for it by far. Plus they usually provide excellent bar snacks to your heart’s delight, which the Freds typically eat in abundance to justify spending a dollar or two more on our cocktails.

squeezing lemon into champagne flute

On a recent trip to Chicago we made just such a stop at the bar of the Peninsula hotel. This bar was exactly what we enjoy in a drinking establishment – Art Nouveau decor, an open fireplace, and friendly, impeccably dressed bartenders.  Yes, yes and yes! It was here that I discovered a brilliant adaptation of my previous favorite cocktail, the French 75, in its more sophisticated cousin the French 77. As you may know, the French 75 is a champagne cocktail made with lemon, gin, powdered sugar and champagne. The French 77 kicks it up a notch by replacing the powdered sugar and gin with elderflower liqueur. This classy drink is now our go-to for celebrations, big announcements and for me – a bad day pick me-up. Yeah, I’m a baller like that.

pouring champagne for french 77

The French 77

Ingredients

1 part St. Germain or other elderflower liqueur

1/4 to 1/2 part freshly squeezed lemon juice

Your favorite champagne

Preparation

Pour first two ingredients into chilled fluted glass. Top with Champagne. Garnish with lemon twist*.
*To make a lemon twist, cut off the ends of your lemon and then cut the rind from one end to the other making a 1/3 inch strip. (Make sure you don’t cut into the pith or meat of the lemon). Peel off the strip and twist it between your fingers over the drink so that any oils released when twisting fall into the cocktail. Rub the twist around the rim of your glass before placing it atop.

french 77
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