A classic bubbly gin and champagne cocktail with a fresh lemon zing!
My birthday is on Tuesday, and to celebrate I was going to make this really decadent, three layer German chocolate cake that may or may not be soaked with booze (that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen, just not today).
Instead of beating around the bush, I thought I’d go right for the gold and share with you my favorite cocktail: the French 75.
It’s my go-to drink at restaurants when I don’t feel like wine or beer, and it’s one of those drinks that kind of hard to mess up. If the bartender is heavy handed with the champagne, then oh darn – I have to drink more champagne. And if they’re heavy handed with the gin (as long as it’s good gin), it may take me a little longer to drink but it will still be delicious. And as far as I’m concerned, the more lemon flavor the better. I heart lemon.
We’re going to dinner with a couple close friends (who are actually our officiant and one of the groomsman) for my birthday, and the place we’re going has amazing bartenders who absolutely nail the French 75 for me. Every time.
But of course, I’m impatient, and I wanted one now and didn’t want to wait for Tuesday. So here we are.
As a grown ass woman, I figured it would be very adult of me to at least make a spread to go with it. Luckily, I had everything I needed on hand: a block of local cheese, crackers, tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, olives and a crapload of toothpicks. At some point, years ago, I decided to buy toothpicks in bulk and I’m 99% sure I am never going to have to buy toothpicks again for the rest of my life.
And like any good adult, my tyrannosaurus rex is also full of candy and ready for dessert.
I have to give a shout out to one of the groomsman for our wedding for our early wedding gifts (there’s a funny story behind that, but I’m going to wait until after the wedding to share it – so stay tuned for… 5 months), because it included this gorgeous serving board, server and champagne flutes. They made for a simple and beautiful presentation, if I do say so myself.
There comes an age where you stop drinking to get drunk, and you stop drinking cheap beer just so you have something to choke down while you’re out at a way-too-loud bar with your friends. You also stop indulging in the well whiskey specials during happy hour, and you stop buying the cheapest champagne at the store just so you can have a lot of it on hand.
Mind you, that happened a long, long time ago for me… but it’s nice to remind myself that I’ve matured in my tastes over the years. Now, I’m very particular about my beer (we can blame the German in me for that – I’ve pretty much always been picky), I rarely indulge myself in hard liquor at all and when I do it’s likely something local that’s smooth and sippable, and I prefer proseccos and insist on dry champagnes.
So make sure you’re using a good gin, a good champagne or prosecco, and you’re squeezing your lemon juice right there on the spot. If you use the bottle stuff I will hunt you down. Seriously.
2018 has been sort of an epic year, as far as life milestones go. I got a new job at the beginning of the year, Bill and I bought a beautiful home, we got engaged, and now I know that I’m getting married at the age of 34.
I always thought I’d buy a house one day, but I had no idea where it would be – and as the years went on and the economy deteriorated, it seemed like a pipe dream. The idea of having a permanent home where I could do construction, landscaping, and living with one person for the rest of my life just didn’t seem practical anymore.
I always thought I’d get married in my twenties, but I never put much thought into the wedding itself. I knew there’d be a white dress, a dude in a tux, and guests, but that was as clear as my vision got. If I’d gotten married in my twenties, I guarantee my wedding would be completely different than the one I have now. Maybe I’d want all the bridesmaids to be matchy matchy. Maybe I’d want the ceremony on the side of a mountain with hundreds of guests and massive floral displays, and a reception in an enormous castle or estate. Maybe I’d relish having a day that’s all about me.
Now, I want the bridesmaids wearing whatever gowns they love and feel comfortable in, and I don’t care how they wear their hair or what shoes they have on. We’re having a small, intimate ceremony inside a barn that needs little to no decoration because it’s naturally beautiful, and the reception in the same place with simple linens and candles. And I don’t want any of this to be just about me. It’s about bringing together the people Bill and I love to celebrate, and have the absolute best time.
This year, I started drinking kombucha, which I put off for a long time because it made me feel too hipstery. Now it’s become part of my routine as a bit of a coffee substitution and I notice a change in my general feeling of wellness if I don’t drink it for a few days.
I still have my bad days, but generally speaking I have my endometriosis and PCOS under control. I know my triggers, I exercise as much as I can, and I admit when I can’t do it all and just need to go to bed at 8PM so that the next day has the potential to be better.
I live in a restored, historic farmhouse by the ocean where I can sit in a rocking chair on my wraparound porch and take in the salt air with a sleeping dog at my feet. Bill and I take turns mowing our sloping yard on the weekends where I usually stop at the top of the hill and gaze at the water, and tinker around the house with small projects as time permits. I take a boat to work where I can sip my coffee in the mornings while I keep one eye on the water looking for whales.
I’m helping to plan our winter wedding where our biggest problem of the moment is whether or not we want to plan a nice group dinner for the night before the wedding so people can meet and get to know each other before the big day. I’m not nervous, I’m not stressed about it, and I’m outsourcing the things that aren’t worth the time and energy for DIY projects. I know I can’t do my hair and makeup the way a pro can, so I’m going to have a salon do it. I know I can’t make a bridal bouquet and boutineers without it looking like some child’s school project gone wrong, so we’ll have a florist do it.
All the money I had saved for the wedding went toward Penny’s vet bills and medications over the last few months, and while money doesn’t grow on the trees in our yard, we have the luxury of not being overly worried about the money. We can make it up – in a rush, but still.
All of this to say… 2018 has generally been good to me, and I acknowledge how lucky I am to be in this spot in my life. 34 is going to bring a wedding, a new year, and maybe a little less chaos. Since we’re not having kids, I’ve done all the adulting I plan to do for a while, thankyouverymuch.
So let’s raise a glass to turning 34 and toast to the possibilities it brings! Or to making it through Hurricane Florence without running out of bread and milk. Or to not forgetting to pick up your kids from school.
No matter how big or small, this drink is there to support you. I promise.
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A classic bubbly gin and champagne cocktail with a fresh lemon zing!
- 3 ounces gin
- 1 ounce simple syrup (more or less, to taste)
- The juice of two freshly squeezed lemons (about 2 ounces)
- 4–5 ounces dry champagne, chilled
- Lemon twist, garnish
- In a cocktail shaker, combine gin, simple syrup and lemon juice with a handful of ice. Cover and shake well for a few seconds.
- Strain into two champagne flutes. Top with champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.
- Serve immediately – cheers!
- Category: Drink
Keywords: french 75, french 75 cocktail, champagne cocktail