Whether you are saying goodbye to the previous year or hello to the new one, Champagne or anything bubbly is traditional for New Year’s Eve. It’s light, refreshing and pairs well with many kinds of festive meals from briny oysters and caviar to rich and creamy cheeses and just about anything fried. Should you happen to have a splash of Champagne leftover or better yet, a bottle, consider a Champagne cocktail for brunch the following day.
While the classic mimosa is fine, I am a big fan of the French 75. The French 75 dates back to World War I and is named for the French 75mm field gun, the “Soixante Quinze” thanks to it’s kick from gin. It’s as simple as can be, just gin, lemon juice, sugar or simple syrup and Champagne or another sparkling brut wiine. There are some other versions of the drink and some prefer cognac or brandy, but I think gin is really the way to go.
The gin you use is important. I am particulary fond of London dry gin, and Plymouth in particular although you are welcome to use another London dry gin if you prefer. Some other brands I like are Spirit Works, Beefeater and Tanqueray (either Special Dry or No. 10). The reason you want to use gin instead of another spirit is because of the botanicals. The bubbles open up the aromatics of the gin and make it even more fragrant. Lemon and a touch of sugar help to balance and sweeten the drink. While you can use simple syrup if you like, if you’re lazy like I am, powdered sugar works great! Here’s why you need a cocktail shaker for this drink. Shaking will mix and dissolve the sugar with the lemon and gin and also slightly dilute the drink. As a rule of thumb, drinks with fresh juices are shaken, drinks with only alcohol are stirred.
Makes one cocktail
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons powdered sugar
1 ounce (2 Tablespoons) London dry gin
Chilled Champagne to fill the glass, about 3-4 ounces
Lemon peel, for garnish
Combine the lemon, sugar and gin in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice and shake. Strain into a glass or Champagne flute and top with Champagne.
Enjoy & Happy New Year!