Recently I’ve been wondering if I was born on the wrong continent. I am obsessed with everything European! I can’t get enough of the history, food, drinks, and lifestyle. You will be seeing this obsession in many of my upcoming posts. I decided to draw on this inspiration for this weeks edition of Cocktails with Cally. While I was looking for something fun and different, I couldn’t pass on the French Blonde! It’s delicious, it’s French, and it’s blonde, what more could you ask for?
This drink has been around since the 1920’s, but it isn’t often seen on many cocktail menus. I’m not sure why, it’s not very time consuming to make and it is a great option for people who want a fun drink, but not something that is too fruity or sweet. It has just the right amount of sweetness to cut the dry gin, but not so much that you feel like your drinking candy. It’s also a great drink for any time of the year. It’s refreshing for the hot summer months, but comforting enough to enjoy during a long winter night by the fire!
The hardest part about making this drink at home is finding some of the ingredients. I spent a lot of time wandering around Liquor Barn, my favorite store when it comes to making cocktails. If you can’t find it there, they can usually order it for you! If you don’t already have a complete liquor store for all of your craft cocktail needs, a quick Google search will help you find a close one. Call ahead to see if they have these ingredients, and if they don’t, see if they will order them for you. Luckily, after a little searching and asking several employees, I found what I needed.
Now, one of the ingredients is Lemon Bitters. For years, I have been afraid to make drinks with bitters, because it seemed like something that only a professional bartender should use. Kind of like using truffles in the kitchen, it just seems daunting! However, I decided it was time to overcome my fears, and what better reason than a French Blonde! I promise, don’t be afraid to use bitters. They are quickly becoming one of my favorite items to work with. They allow you to add depths of flavors to your drinks with little splashes of flavor. Get a small starter pack to begin with and play with a few drinks, like the French Blonde. Before long, you’ll be a bitters expert and impressing all of your friends at parties with your amazing cocktails!
This recipe is for 1 cocktail, but depending on the size of your martini shaker, you can make more by multiplying the number of drinkers by each component. I would not suggest making these too far ahead of time, to save the integrity of the ingredients, and besides, you want to impress your guests with your bartending skills! It should only take you a few minutes to whip up a shaker full; like I said, most of your time will come in when you’re looking for the elderflower liquor and Lillet Blanc! Also, to make your life easier, I did the mixture using a shot glass as my measuring cup, because not everyone has a jigger and it saves you the trouble of figuring out ounces and half ounces of liquid.
– ½ Shot elderflower liquor (Brands include St. Germain and John DeKuyper and Sons, but any brand will do)
– 1 shot dry gin
– 2 shots Lillet Blanc (I had no idea, but it is a French white wine!)
– 2 shots fresh grapefruit juice (I cut one in half and squeezed into a bowl to make the measuring easier. Don’t worry about the pulp and seeds. They will be strained out at the end. For me, one half made about 2 shots.)
– A few dashes of lemon bitters (you can usually find these in the section with the mixers.)
– Martini Shaker (You could stir all the ingredients together and strain them into the glasses, but I prefer the martini shaker. And it’s fun to use!)
– Martini Glass (Again, like I said last week, if you don’t have the particular style of glass, don’t worry about it. It drinks the same out of anything!)
– Fill Martini Shaker with ice.
– Add all ingredients.
– Shake for at least 30 seconds.
– Strain into glass.
– Garnish with grapefruit peels.
I promise, this will be a hit at your next party! Who doesn’t love a French Blonde!