From the Southern Foodways Alliance’s Gravy quarterly #56:
You will never make my favorite drink incorrectly. I will not allow that to happen. Not in a didactic, bossy, or witchy way—I don’t have printed recipe cards in my purse or the proportions tattooed up my forearm. I’m just fully prepared to enjoy whatever version of a French 75 you’d care to serve me. Life is too short to be doctrinaire about my cocktails or deliberately set myself up for disappointment. At least not when there are bubbles to be drunk.
I have a thing for this drink. It hits all my buttons: tart (usually lemon juice, sometimes lime), sweet (sugar, simple syrup, or orange liqueur), fizzy and fancy (Champagne or a reasonable analogue), strong—and here’s where it gets interesting. By the reckonings of most old-tymey bar books and fellas with with wax-tipped moustaches, the hard booze used can be either gin or Cognac. Either is right, so neither is wrong—and I might as well try plenty of ’em just to make sure. It’s not just because I love to sip a French 75 in the cool of a hotel lobby in a city where I’ve never been before, pair one (or two), with a rare, long weekday lunch that makes me feel like I’ve thieved an hour from the gods, or nurse one at a sleek, bland airport bar as my flight time gets shoved back, and back again.
It’s not just the drink; it’s the conversation and surprise that’s served alongside it, especially at a place where they’re not often ordered. I’m not a jerk, strolling into a beer hall or a honky tonk, demanding my twee little beverage. But if I see the makings on the bar, maybe a lightly abused piece of citrus and a stab at a cocktail list, I’ll take my chances.
Read the rest of I’ll Take My Chances