Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sunshine In A Glass

"The fourth week they discovered French Seventy-fives, a seasonal favorite concocted of brandy and champagne, which made them laugh long and loud at their newfound wit..." -- Dawn Powell, The Wicked Pavilion

Apparently one of my New Year's resolutions is to undertake a definitive study of the French 75 cocktail to determine which Seattle establishment mixes the very best.

My Illustration

I'm not sure if it's the sunny yellow color, or the fact that I'm a bit overdue for a trip to Paris, but suddenly I'm ordering this long-time favorite every time I find myself out and about.



Like most of our quintessential favorite drinks, the French 75 was created at Harry's Bar in Paris.  


Cocktail lore has it that bartender Harry MacElhone mixed the first one in 1915, and it got it's name because it delivers a kick that makes one feel as if a French 75mm shotgun discharged it's shells on one's head.

Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn at the Stork Club

The famed Stork Club popularized the drink in The Sates, and the recipe was first recorded in the Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930.

As it happens, that authority of libations says that gin is the key ingredient in the French 75, although some still claim its cognac -- for the record, I prefer gin. 

But no matter if you order yours with gin or cognac, how could you help but be happy with one of these at cocktail hour? Part sunshine? Part Paris? Perfect. 

Which is why when a snowy evening squashed plans for "Girls' Night Out" in pursuit of the best French food and French 75s, I had to mix my own sunshine in a glass. It's pretty simple: 

Shake 2oz of gin 
With 1 oz fresh lemon juice
And 1/2 oz simple syrup
Pop some Champagne to top up
Add lemon zest to garnish 

Cheers! Here's to Tuesday!


  1. Very fun little history lesson. :) I was most impressed with your illustration though - you have talent!

  2. Thanks Barbara, you are very kind! Hope your move is coming along. Looking forward to toasting your arrival in Seattle. With a French 75 perhaps? Happy travels! XO

  3. This sound delicious, Jeanne. I am trying this! And it is so pretty.
    Have a nice day.

  4. Well, I had never heard of the French 75 and I enjoyed reading your story on this damp, white Seattle morning. I hear more snow is in the forecast so you and I might have to start making more of these over the next two days... ;-) Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  5. Well, you know this speaks to me!!!!! And calling it sunshine in a glass makes it downright happy!

    Cheers my friend. Stay warm and bundle up for that winter advisory headed your way. Would you believe we had a dusting of snow, but then just rain today. I feel like NY and Seattle have swapped places!

    xo Elizabeth

  6. What a great story! Love the fact that the drink makes you feel as if you've been shot... I feel that way in the morning, sometimes!

  7. Gorgeous drawing Jeanne--as happy as the title of your post. Can you imagine that I have never tasted this lil' cocktail? Something to look forward to... :à

  8. paid a visit to Harry's Bar in October...cocktails and hot dogs. Not what we had originally planned for Paris! But great still the same

  9. Voila in Madison Valley makes a fantastic French 75. I order it every time I'm there. And it's just up the street from you Jeanne!



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