It’s every bartender’s nightmare to have customers who have absolutely zero idea what they want to order when their turn is up at the bar. I wouldn’t know for sure as I’m not a bartender but I read somewhere that this is the case. Knowing that, I risked it anyway one lonesome night and that was how I was introduced to my favorite cocktail to date. To be fair, the bartender was a regular customer at the restaurant where I worked at and I frequent his bar so I guess you could call us friends, sort of.
“Can you make me something with gin that you think I might like?”
Boom, without a doubt, he poured a shot (or 2) of Hendrick’s into the shaker along with some St. Germain and fresh lime juice. A minute later, I was presented with a clear yellow mix in a champagne flute, which was then topped up with champagne. That bubble gets me every time. I thought the St.Germain was an odd choice, but after the first sip, I understood its reason for being there. St.Germain is an elderflower liqueur, which is often used in place of simple syrup to add sweetness to the drink and at the same time, give it a distinct fragrance and taste. I wouldn’t say it tastes like an elderflower, since I have never smelled/tasted elderflowers before (or have anyone really?)
Ever since that day, I would proudly tell everyone my favorite cocktail is the French 75. And being the snobbish young adult that I was at 22, I would request for it at every bar that is slightly fancy or displays an extensive variety of alcohol. To my surprise, I soon realize that the French 75 that I know is not the French 75 that is generally recognized by the majority of bartenders.
That led me to research into this drink. Unfortunately, there is no interesting story tied to this drink for me to wow you all with. It was first introduced by barman Harry MacElhone at the New York bar in Paris, originally using cognac as the main alcohol, accompanied by Champagne, lemon juice, and sugar. Of course, the original name is french, “Soixante Quinze”, translate to “75” in English. Later on, gin was often used to replace cognac, and my bartender friend just took a step further to replace the sugar with St.Germain liqueur, giving birth to my favorite drink.
I would generally still be satisfied with most versions of the French 75 at restaurants and bar as long as it’s made with gin. Well, I don’t have much choice since the version that I fell in love with was a customized one. Anyway, I like the way the comforting bubbles prepare your tastebud for the gin’s kick, which was soon made interesting with the sweetness and citrusy feeling from the mixers. Now and then I attempted to make it for myself at home but due to the high alcohol cost in Singapore, where I reside now, I can’t help but dream about French 75 with Gin and St. Germain from time to time.