Words by: Simon Difford
The cocktails we came across during July and liked enough to add to Difford’s Guide, plus those recipes we’ve revisited and updated.
'75' Cocktail (MacElhone's 1926 recipe)
With: Calvados, dry gin, grenadine, absinthe
We say: Like the gun this cocktail is named after, this small drink that packs a hell of a punch, and to ensure it does, MacElhone calls for a couple of dashes of absinthe in place of the lemon juice used in earlier Soixante-Quinze (Seventy-Five) recipes. The result being a dry spirituous drink.
'75' Cocktail (Vermeire's 1922 recipe)
With: Dry gin, calvados, lemon juice and grenadine.
We say: Spirituous dry and fruity with the botanicals in the gin adding depth of flavour to the other fruity ingredients.
With: Vodka, white creme de cacao, sweet vermouth and dry vermouth.
We say: For many, "Alternatini" is a pejorative term for a drink masquerading to be a Martini. Purists will certainly be disproving of this "Martini" but it's not so bad, and at least it contains vodka and vermouth. It's also relatively dry and certainly spirituous.
Archibald's Last Memory Cocktail
With: Rye whiskey, Fernet Branca, Bénédictine and maraschino liqueur.
We say: This drink is so spirituous that it may well have finished Archibald off, but a least his last drink was a proper sharpener. Then again, the perceived health-giving herbal benefits of Fernet and Bénédictine combined in such a dosage would have perhaps got him back on his feet.
Beginning of the End
With: Aged rum, Antica Formula, Amer Picon and Olorosso sherry.
We say: Burnt orange oils add smoky notes, complexity and balance to this bitter-sweet drink. A perfect after-dinner cocktail.
With: Calvados, ice cider, pressed apple juice and dry cider.
We say: Four different apple products - three of them alcoholic - combined harmoniously in one cocktail, so obviously appley and just on the dry side of balanced.
With: Fresh basil, vodka, limoncello, lemon juice, sugar syrup and tonic water.
We say: Light in alcohol, with its basil and zesty lemon flavours, this wholesome looking cocktail makes for a refreshing summer afternoon drink.
With: Vanilla vodka, limoncello, butterscotch schnapps, lemon juice and vanilla syrup.
We say: Relive your youth and the taste of those big round sweets with this sweet-n-sour lemony cocktail.
With: Lime juice, honey, cachaça, limoncello, Aperol, basil and egg white.
We say: Bittersweet and complex with underlying cachaça character. Perfect as an aperitivo.
With: Bourbon, lemon juice, pineapple juice, coffee liqueur and cold brew coffee reduction.
We say: A dry (some may want to add a touch of sugar syrup) bourbon laced coffee cocktail resplendent with a moustache challenging white tea & coconut head.
Fin de Siècle (End of Century) Cocktail
With: Dry gin, sweet vermouth, Amer Picon and orange bitters.
We say: Dry, spirituous and zesty, this is a cocktail that lends itself equally to aperitif or after dinner occasions.
Flat White Martini
With: Irish cream liqueur, vodka and espresso coffee.
We say: Martini drinkers of the gin/vodka and vermouth variety will describe this drink as being all too flat and all too white, but for lovers of flat white coffees and cream liqueurs, this Martini will hit the spot - even though it's not really a Martini.
French 75 (Judge Jr's 1927 recipe)
With: Lemon juice, powdered sugar, dry gin and champagne.
We say: Dangerously quaffable gin spiked champagne with a zesty lemon bite. The powered sugar adds an attractive sherbet note.
French 75 (Difford's recipe)
With: Lemon juice, sugar, old tom gin, calvados, cognac, grenadine, absinthe and champagne.
We say: A French 75 combining Robert Vermeire's 1922 ingredients with influences from other vintage French 75 recipes, served in a tall Collins glass topped with champagne.
French 95 (a French '75' with bourbon)
With: Lemon juice, powdered sugar, bourbon and champagne
We say: Jones' original 1977 recipe, which consists: 2oz/60ml bourbon, 1oz/30ml lemon juice and 2 spoons sugar, topped with champagne, is built in the glass. This makes for a very powerful drink. Hence, we hope Jones would approve of our tweaking his recipe and shaking to mix. The result still has some oomph, but with the extra dilution of shaking, is a tad more harmonious.
French 125 (French '75' with cognac) Jones' 1977 recipe
With: Lemon juice, powdered sugar, cognac and champagne.
We say: Jones' original 1977 built in the glass recipe, which consists: 2oz/60ml cognac, 1oz/30ml lemon juice and 2 spoons sugar, topped with champagne, is a powerful drink. Hence, we hope Jones would approve of our tweaking his recipe. The result still has plenty of oomph behind it, but with the extra dilution of shaking, is a tad more harmonious.
French 125 (French 75 with cognac) Modern flute serve
With: Lemon juice, powdered sugar , cognac and champagne.
We say: Cognac makes for a heavier cocktail than a French 75 made with gin, yet this cocktail remains enlivening, refreshing and quaffable.
With: Rosolio di bergamotto and prosecco sparkling wine.
We say: Rosolio di Bergamotto adds bittersweet zesty citrus complexity to this light prosecco charged aperitivo.
With: Citrus vodka, limoncello, vanilla syrup and lemon juice.
We say: Vanilla smoothed zesty lemon. Refreshing and enlivening.
Lemon Sherbet Margarita
With: Blanco tequila, limoncello, lemon juice, lemon sorbet and agave syrup.
We say: This margarita does indeed have a sherbet flavour with a lemony citrus bite.
Montreal Cocktail (official city cocktail)
With: London dry gin, Canadian rye whisky, Aperol, gentiane liqueur.
We say: Spirituous and bittersweet, this aperitif-style cocktail reflects Montreal's French and English influences with London dry gin and gentiane liqueur. Naturally this Canadian cocktail also features domestically produced rye whisky.
With: Fresh raspberries, vodka, Campari, limoncello, orange juice and bitter lemon.
We say: Fruity but not sweet, with drying bitter lemon. This is a very refreshing low alcohol, aperitif style summery cocktail.
With: Dry gin, pink grapefruit juice, Campari and St-Germain.
We say: Tart, dry and lightly bitter, but with just enough underlying sweetness to stroke the palate and make another sip so very desirable - a complex, bittersweet taste sensation. Brilliant as an aperitif on a hot summer's evening.
Pineapple Daiquiri (simple but tasty recipe)
With: Light rum, aged rum, pineapple juice, lime juice and sugar.
We say: Light rum provides vibrancy while aged rum adds rich complexity. Pineapple juice adds tropical fruitiness and gives the dilution necessary to open and amplify a classic Daiquiri.
With: Bourbon, pineapple liqueur, lemon juice, vanilla liqueur and egg white.
We say: Bourbon's strength and richness of flavour, with tropical pineapple, freshened by citrus.
With: Lemon, limoncello, Angostura Bitters and tonic water.
We say: Long and refreshing with a tart lemony bite.
With: Fresh raspberries, vodka, limoncello and sugar syrup
We say: This vodka laced, rich (but not overly sweet) raspberry cocktail is a crowd pleaser.
With: Cognac, limoncello, sweet vermouth and peach bitters.
We say: Spirituous and bittersweet with a cleansing citrusy bite and underlying cognac complexity, this cocktail is suited to both aperitif and after-dinner occasions.
With: Bourbon, Cardamaro, maraschino liqueur and Fernet Branca.
We say: Stirred down and bourbon-led with bittersweet amaro, and a hit of rich maraschino, lifted and enlivened by fernet's herbal complexity.
Soixante-Quinze (Washington Herald 1915 recipe)
With: Dry gin, applejack bonded, grenadine and lemon juice.
We say: This 1915 recipe, originally of equal parts gin, applejack and grenadine (1/3 of each to 1/6 lemon juice) makes this Seventy-Five a tad on the sweet side (certainly sweet if you are using a proprietary or housemade 2:1 grenadine). However, who knows what brix the original grenadine/pomegranate syrup was, so we've eased back the grenadine to bring modern day ingredients more into kilter. The resulting drink (which benefits from a splash of water to aid dilution), remains more a fruity spirituous after-dinner cocktail rather than an aperitif.
Adapted from a 1915 recipe published in The Washington Herald.
Spiked Arnold Palmer
With: Limoncello, cold black tea and lemon juice.
We say: Tea tannins and sour lemon balance rich limoncello in this refreshing low alcohol cocktail. Perfect for summer.
With: Mint leaves, bourbon, sugar syrup, lime juice and ginger beer.
We say: Cross between a bourbon based Southside and a bourbon mule. Packs a gingery bourbon punch.
With: Light rum, limoncello and bitter lemon.
We say: Bittersweet and relatively low in alcohol, a refreshing lemony drink for a lazy summer afternoon.