The sky-high Iris Bar at Searcys at the Gherkin is a city stalwart, boasting the only 360º views over London and a predictably well-heeled clientele to match. To celebrate its re-opening this week, Searcys’ head bartender Alessio Aufiero has shared its signature glamorous twist on the French 75 cocktail. “The gin cuts right through the sweetness of the berries, helping the flavour of the Champagne and the freshness of the bubbles to come through,” he tells Gentleman’s Journal.
Created in Paris during the First World War, the name is taken from the French 75-millimetre light field gun, a symbol of hope during the French Resistance. Despite its simplicity – the original recipe contains just gin, Champagne, powdered sugar and lemon juice – the Savoy Cocktail Book warns that it “hits with remarkable precision”. Nowadays, riffs and variations abound: a splash of Calvados, Bourbon or Angostura Bitters all work, and gin can be substituted for vodka or even tequila.
With just four ingredients, Searcys’ version is simple to make at home and the return on time invested is high for those looking to start the weekend in style. If you can’t get hold of rose liqueur, Bombay Sapphire’s bramble-flavoured gin makes a delicious alternative for a deeper colour and fruitier flavour. Conversely, if you’re looking for less alcohol, Salcombe Gin has just launched a punchy new zero-alcohol gin called New London Light, which is made with enough botanicals to replace its classic counterpart.
Ingredients (serves one)
15ml rose liqueur (Lanique is classic but Silent Pool’s rose-infused gin works well too)
A rose petal
- Pour the grenadine, rose liqueur and gin into a shaker and fill with ice.
- Shake well and strain into a flute glass.
- Top with Champagne and stir gently to mix the ingredients.
- Garnish with a rose petal.
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