Bastille Day is as good an excuse as any to drink something French-accented (and practice your bartending skills in the process). In honor of France’s Fête Nationale, we’ve scoured the globe for some of the best celebratory cocktail recipes courtesy of renowned bartenders far and wide, spanning all levels of dexterity and home bar breadth. Whether you’re hosting friends or laying low to avoid the crowds, try these cocktails at home this Sunday (French flag cape optional).
Sidecar Killer Qu’est-ce Que C’est – Nobody Told Me, NYC
There are few more widely recognized Cognac cocktails than the Sidecar. It’s typically quite a simple recipe (Cognac, lemon, orange liqueur, and sugar), but Nobody Told Me on Manhattan’s Upper West Side kicks things up a notch in their nuanced version, bringing crème de cacao and absinthe into the mix and forgoing the standard sugared rim.
2oz Cognac (such as Frapin)
.50 oz Marie Brizard Crème de Cacao White
.25oz dry curaçao
.75oz lemon juice
.75oz Cognac-based orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier or Bauchant)
Rinse or spray the inside of a chilled coupe with absinthe. Then, shake all remaining liquid ingredients with ice until chilled and strain into glass. Express the oils of a lemon twist over the drink and discard.
Möet Riviera Spritz – La Côte at Fontainebleau Miami Beach
Inspired by the lavender fields of Provence, this simple Champagne cocktail uses demi sec (on the sweet end of the sparkling wine spectrum) alongside an ounce of vodka and another of St. Germain, a beautifully aromatic elderflower liqueur. This drink is undoubtedly suited to a sweeter-leaning palate, so consider serving it with a contrasting dish, such as crudo or ceviche with bright citrus and a bit of heat.
3 oz Moët Ice Impérial
1oz St. Germain liqueur
1oz Belvedere Vodka
.5oz fresh lemon juice
.5oz simple syrup
5 fresh blueberries
Muddle berries, lemon, and syrup inside a mixing glass; then, add Moët Ice, St. Germain, and vodka along with a handful of ice cubes and stir. Strain into a wine glass, garnish with a few extra blueberries (optional), and serve.
Classic French 75 – Magic Hour, NYC
“A French 75 is the perfect cocktail to drink on Bastille Day,” says Nikki McCutcheon, Beverage Director at Magic Hour in New York City. “It originated during war time dating back to WW1 and it’s said to be named after a French field gun.” The original recipe was made with Cognac, but today, French 75s are often served with gin as the base spirit (McCutcheon’s preference). This classic recipe is always a crowd pleaser.
1oz Damrak Gin
.5oz lemon juice
.5oz simple syrup (1:1 sugar:water)
In a tin with ice, add gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake and strain into a chilled champagne flute. Top it off with your preferred Champagne, a twist of lemon and enjoy.
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