David Lebovitz is an American pastry chef and food writer based in Paris and the author of Drinking French. During the height of the pandemic, his chatty Instagram videos demonstrating how to make cocktails from his book were a regular source of inspiration for me.
Every week I got the ingredients and made the cocktail David was demonstrating. It was a little bit of fun. Fun and pandemic are two words you don't usually see together but I realized how much I was enjoying learning about cocktails. I got some beautiful drinkware, a cocktail shaker, and a mixing glass and I was off and running.
Making a cocktail became a joyful nightly ritual. I gathered the ingredients, tools, and glassware, and in a few minutes, a delightful cocktail with a whimsical garnish was ready for Happy Hour. It was a lovely treat just for me.
A friend, who lives in my building, also got the cocktail bug. He would text me a photo of a gorgeous drink with the caption "care for a Paloma?" and in a few minutes, it was outside my door. Maybe it's a stretch to say that cocktails connect people but they are a great excuse to do something fun with friends.
The history of most cocktails is steeped in lore but what we do know is that the recipe for the French 75 first appeared in 1919 in the ABC of Mixing Drinks. It was created by a London bartender named "MacGarry" working at Buck's Club in London.
The French 75 Cocktail
- 1.5 oz. London Dry Gin
- 3/4 oz. Fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 oz. Simple syrup.
- 2-3 oz chilled sparkling wine. I use prosecco.
Step 1. Add gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is very cold, about 20 seconds.
Step 2. Strain into a champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine. Garnish with lemon twist draped over the side of the glass.
Step 3. Savor your cocktail.
Simple Syrup Recipe.
Add one part sugar and one part water to a small saucepan and heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. When it cools, pour into a clean jar. It will keep for a least a couple of months in the refrigerator.
I use Liber & Co. Gum Syrup because I like the "mouth feel" or texture. There are all kinds of syrups you can try. Experiment a little and see what you like.
Lemon Twist: Use a channel knife to make a long strip starting near one pole and going around the lemon until your strip is the desired length. Wrap around a chopstick or similar object and press until the twist retains its shape.
If you don't have a channel knife you can cut a 1/4" disc of lemon from the center and remove the inside leaving only the peel. Cut once to make the round into a strip. Wrap around a chopstick or similar object and press until the twist retains its shape.
Pro tip: Keep a few small bottles of prosecco on hand so you don't have to open a big bottle when you only need a few ounces for a cocktail.
If you don't have a cocktail shaker don't worry - you can use any jar with a tight-fitting lid like a mason jar.
Treat yourself as an honored guest in your own home.
I invite you to treat yourself as an honored guest in your own home every day. Whether it's making a delightful cocktail, using the "good" dishes or taking some "me" time, let yourself feel cherished. Because you are.