kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits, travel & lifestyle writer / wine educator


Leftover Bubbly Idea

By now, you have either finished or tossed any leftover sparkling wine from Valentine's Day (if you finished the whole bottle that evening--excellent!)

We enjoyed Virginia's Kluge Estates Blanc de Blancs on Heart's Day, and 2 flutes remained in the bottle. So we corked it with my "Champagne saver" stopper, which does wonders to keep the wine from going flat.

The next evening, rather than drink it by itself, we decided to make one of my favorite cocktails, a classy, refined elegant concoction that got its roots in New Orleans, and was named for a powerful French missile of the same name: the French 75.

I love this drink because it combines two of my favorite libations: sparkling wine and gin. Add a little lemon juice and superfine sugar, and it's sippable all by itself. It would also be a fantastic alternative to Muscadet or Sauvignon Blanc to drink with oysters or clams on the half shell, or with steamed lobster or crabs.

There is a French 75 recipe in my Commandeer's Palace cookbook, but I also found a bunch on the web which also sounded tasty. We used the following recipe that evening (and I honestly don't know from which site I pulled it.) The difference between this one and the one in my cookbook is that the latter has less lemon juice and sugar, so it's more potent. We used Hendrick's Gin, which gave it an exotic flavor due to the rose and cucumber notes in it. My husband and I both agreed, though, that next time we'd use a more traditional, "limey," juniper gin like Tanqueray or Seagram's.

Give it a try the next time you have some leftover bubbly. Enjoy!

French 75

1.5 oz. Gin
2 tsp. superfine sugar
1 1/2 oz. lemon juice
4 oz. Champagne or sparkling wine
Lemon or orange slice (optional)

Add ice to a cocktail shaker, and then add Gin, sugar and lemon juice. Shake until cold. Pour into Champagne flute, top with 4 oz. of chilled Champagne or sparkling wine. Garnish with a lemon or orange slice, if desired.