A blueberry French 75

Cheers to week 7 of our summer cocktail series.  I can’t believe it’s August already.  Check out the Cocktails category to what we were drinking earlier in the summer.

The first time I made a French 75 there was a fortuitous combination of events.  We had recently moved into our house in Oakland and drank most of a bottle of champagne to celebrate.  Most, you say?  Right, who doesn’t finish a bottle of champagne?  No clue.

The next evening, as we were unpacking boxes, I was looking through our very barren fridge to see what I could mix up to drink.  All we had was about a glass of champagne, the tailings of a bottle of gin and a big bag of lemons that we pillaged from the lemon tree of our rental apartment the night before we moved.

At almost the same moment, I opened up a box that had been sealed SINCE COLLEGE (I’ll spare you the long story).  In the box I found a trove of books that I had been gifted sometime in my early twenties, including this vintage cocktail book (thank you, Michelle!).  I was thumbing through it — very pleased at my 23 year old self for squirreling away some cocktail books — when I miraculously read the recipe for the French 75.

Sure enough, the French 75 is made from the very ingredients I had in the fridge.  I was initially skeptical about combing gin and sparkling wine, but boy was I wrong.  This simple old drink is a winner.

Here we’re going to add some muddled blueberries, since blueberries pair perfectly with the flavors in this classic cocktail without overpowering any of the other ingredients.  Depending on your blueberries, though, the flavor they impart can almost be too subtle.  If you have wild blueberries, use those since they’re richer.  If you don’t (and you’re sufficiently organized that you’re planning out your drinks the night before), you might consider muddling some blueberries and leaving them in the gin overnight.  That’ll help impart a deeper blueberry taste and even a fun purpley color (before you serve it, though, strain out the old berries and mix it with new berries).  If none of those options sound good, just use regular old blueberries.  I did.  Some blueberry > no blueberry!  Plus, the blueberries bob up and down in the sparkling wine, which is fun to watch.

Note: Do not leave un-caged, still-corked sparking wine unattended!  There’s literally a hole in our ceiling now (adding to the list of our poor kitchen’s battle wounds).

Blueberry French 75
Makes 1 drink

  • 12-15 blueberries
  • 0.5 oz lemon juice (or juice from half a lemon)
  • 1 oz gin
  • 3 oz sparkling wine (a brut Champagne is traditional, but I say use whatever is cheap and dry)
  • ice

In a large wide mouth glass (like a pint glass or a shaker), muddle the blueberries just enough to make them juicy without turning them to mush.  Add lemon juice, gin and a handful of ice.  Stir or shake gently.  Add the sparkling wine, and then pour the whole thing into a champagne glass.  (A highball glass is more traditional, but I prefer the stemless champagne glasses our realtor gave us when we bought our house (thanks Carol!) — use whatever works for you.)

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