Wednesday, September 29, 2010

French 75 Jelly Shots

French 75 Jelly Shot, served in a tiny appetizer cup with champagne on the side, of course . . .

The onset of fall finds me in a state of complete denial.  As such, I am disregarding the autumnal equinox to present this year's final installment of end of summer cocktail favorites translated into cocktail jellies.  It is fitting that this last nomination hails from JSTK fan and noted gelatine expert, the dashing Mr. M, who penned the following from his gorgeous patio in the south of France:

I think this [cocktail]  may be appropriate for a range of reasons that you will no doubt remark.

The cocktail is a ‘French 75’ or just a ‘Soixante Quinze’ .

There seems to be a number of versions of its origin but I prefer the one where it was created in ‘Harry’s New York Bar’ in Paris during the first world war and named due it having a kick like a 75 mm Howitzer artillery gun, it was further popularized in the New York ’Stork Club’.

Its first appearance in a cocktail recipe book was apparently in ‘The Savoy Cocktail Book’ published in 1930 (still in print apparently) written by Harry Craddock, a famous barman, who left America during the prohibition and moved to the Savoy in London.

The recipe is Gin, Champagne, lemon juice and sugar.

So as you may recall Champagne is on my summer favourites list and is of course French and Gin is also on my summer favourites list and is predominantly English (although I believe invented in Holland and the name derives from French), and the cocktail seems to have American parentage, all rather appropriate I thought, what better way to end the summer?

Now I admit I didn’t know the history until I did a little research but I love the cocktail and found its history is rather engaging and inclusive.

Here’s a little more detail:

Bet you wish you hadn’t asked J

[signed, The Dashing Mr. M.]

Yes on all counts, Mr. M.!  The French 75 IS the perfect cocktail to end the summer, for all the reasons listed above.  Quite perfect indeed for end of summer sipping/nibbling on one's patio overlooking the Mediterranean, one's deck in Minneapolis or wherever one enjoys the the last flowers of summer amid the first changing leaves.  

Recipe follows for the jelly shot version of the French 75 (note we didn't use fresh lemon juice - a must for the liquid version of the cocktail - as it can interfere with the jelling process, and we also dialed down the gin a notch - but we replaced it with more champagne!  Wheee!).  A similar brandy version of the French 75, which is quite delightful, is included in our upcoming jelly shot recipe book (although we now readily admit that gin makes a better summer cocktail, and gin also appears to be the most historically correct).  

Enjoy!   (And thanks a million Mr. M. for your nomination . . . )



The French 75 (with gin)

Recommended Pan:  Standard Loaf Pan (approximately 8” x 4”)

  • 1/3 cup lemonade concentrate (strained to remove solids)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 envelopes Knox gelatin *
  • 2/3 cup gin (Mr. M. suggests Gordons or Bombay Sapphire)
  • 2/3 cup flat champagne, prosecco or other white sparkling wine **
  • 1 tsp sugar (if desired)
  • Lemon zest garnish, if desired (we prefer these to be ribbon-y and just for looks)

Combine lemonade concentrate and water in saucepan (and sugar if using).  Sprinkle with gelatin and allow to soak for a minute or two.  Heat over very low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is fully dissolved (approximately 5 minutes).  Remove from heat, and stir in the gin and champagne.  Pour into pan and chill until fully set, several hours or overnight. 

To serve, cut into desired shapes.  Garnish with lemon zest.  Makes 18 to 24 shots.  

* Note: if using a flexible silicon mold, as shown above, add 1/2 envelope additional gelatin (1/2 envelope equals about a teaspoon of gelatin powder).  A slightly firmer jelly shot is easier to pop out of molds.  

** Why flat champagne?  Using flat champagne results in a cleaner looking jelly shot - otherwise the champagne foams and bubbles when poured into the pan, and can leave a foamy residue on the top of the jelly shots unless skimmed off before chilling.