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"French" cocktails?


Callipygos
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This reminds me of the first time I ever heard of, and ordered, a "French 75." It was champagne and cognac, went down way too easy, and made me sick as a dog the next day.

Yeah, these things are lethal--any drinks that combine booze and a healthy dose of champagne are going to cause serious trouble the next day if one follows one's natural inclination to mop them up in quantity. Head hurts.

aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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Oh the vagaries of the French 75--both the gun and the cocktail(s). It's one of those rare instances where the name and features of the original item dovetail so wonderfully with the features and effects of the cocktail that bears its name.

Gin base or Cognac? Grimes claims originally made with cognac and then switched over to gin, while Dale states exactly the opposite.

The ealiest recipe for a French 75 in my library is in Savoy (1930) and it calls for Gin.

Further perusals of my collection lists gin as the base when the cocktail is listed AT ALL. The 75, it seems is most conspicuous in his very absence. A brief list of where I expected to find him and didn't:

Trader Vic: both Food and Drink '46 and Bartender guide' 47

New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix 'em '38

Baker's Exotic Drinks (not that I really expected to find it here, it not being exotic enough, but I fully expected some anecdote about being served one in some remote clime while dining with a charming, eccentric Brit WWI veteran. Or while crossing the Atlantic or something)

Gaige's Cocktail Guide and Ladies Companion '46 and Standard Cocktail Guide '44

Old Waldorf Astoria Bar Book '03 reprint of '35

Saucier's Bottoms Up '53

The Overseas Press Club's Here's How '57 calls for gin, but adds that cognac turns it into a Howitzer.

The 75 mm Field Gun, model 1897 (French) was a workhorse artillery for the French in WWI and when US Nat'l Guardsmen were sent "Over There" with obsolete American equipment, they were issued French 75's. What distinguishes the weapon is its brilliant anti-recoil system that gave it a real smoothness and its tremendous rate of fire--75mm shells flying out of the barrel 30 times a minute. Wet blankets were wrapped around the barrels for ten minutes every hour to cool them off.

So regardless of the "Frenchiness" of the French 75, it is truly aptly named. They certainly have a smoothness that compels me to drink 'em at a quick rate that leaves me the next day wishing to be wrapped in blankets. And, as Craddock notes in one of his precious asides, "Hits with remarkable precision."

It seems unlikely to me that French 75's were drunk by Officers before going over the top, simply because going over the top wasn't what officers did in WWI :wink:

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  • 1 year later...

Badump.

Snooping around here thinking about drinks to go with rillettes and saw the posts about the French 75. When I was travelling in Cognac years ago, I had a variation on that theme (I think), cognac and ginger ale. A nice drink if the ginger ale isn't too sweet.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Hmmm....thinking out loud..........Cognac and home made ginger beer might work and then you could add a wee bit of simple syrup and maybe a little splash or a twist of citrus. Maybe a little bit o' bitters cause as we all know ""It's Better with Bitters" :wink:

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Hmmm....thinking out loud..........Cognac and home made ginger beer might work and then you could add a wee bit of simple syrup and maybe a little splash or a twist of citrus. Maybe a little bit o' bitters cause as we all know ""It's Better with Bitters" :wink:

if you use orange bitters and an orange twist I do belive it becomes a "peg". A Peg is any thing with gingerale and orange bitters. Yum.

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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  • 3 years later...

I'm dredging this old topic back up because I'm trying to get more information on cocktails that were actually invented on French soil. We've got the pompier & rose mentioned by Dave above.

There seems to be some debate on the Sidecar & French 75, as both here and elsewhere I've heard conflicting stories.

I don't personally buy that the bloody mary (at least as we know it today) was invented at Paris Harry's.

So...does anyone know of any relatively well known drinks today that were first served/created/consumed in France?

(and just to clarify - I'm looking for drinks created and started here whether they were americans doing american-style cocktails in France, "French cocktails", or french cocktails based on an assimilated cocktail culture from the US and abroad).

I've been looking through some of my own books on cocktails (imbibe, drink, etc) but not coming across just what I want. I've ordered some additional books that might give me some more info. But, if anyone can point me in the right direction or give me some information, it would be much appreciated.

52 martinis blog

@52martinis

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So...does anyone know of any relatively well known drinks today that were first served/created/consumed in France?

(and just to clarify - I'm looking for drinks created and started here whether they were americans doing american-style cocktails in France, "French cocktails", or french cocktails based on an assimilated cocktail culture from the US and abroad).

I've been looking through some of my own books on cocktails (imbibe, drink, etc) but not coming across just what I want. I've ordered some additional books that might give me some more info. But, if anyone can point me in the right direction or give me some information, it would be much appreciated.

Off the top of my head, two books I'd suggest are Barflies and Cocktails, and Baker's The Gentleman's Companion. Many of the recipes in Barflies are followed with an attribution to a specific bar/bartender. Not quite a definitive history of the drink in question, but at least a good place to start. If you can't get a copy in Paris, let me know, and I'll list the names of the drinks/bars/bartenders here.

With Baker, there's always a story to accompany the drink, while in many cases it simply means that he's giving us the story of having a particular drink in a particular place, he also often gives a more detailed history of the creation of the drink itself.

"Martinis should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously one on top of the other." - W. Somerset Maugham

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