Get ready to try my Cocktail Whisperer’s twisted take on the French 75, that classic combination of gin, champagne, lemon juice, and simple syrup. This version is actually a hybrid of the French 75 and the traditional champagne cocktail, which calls for a bitters-moistened sugar cube, brandy, and a heady top of champagne. Fuse the two together, add a healthy whack of tart, fruity Squire’s Shrub, and you’ve got a cocktail that’ll make your knees tremble. In the same way that alchemists of old strove to turn base metals into gold, champagne can turn a plain old Tuesday into a full-on, hat-waving celebration. Be sure to keep a bottle on hand so you can whip these up the next time you find yourself hosting an impromptu shindig. Make a few batches of the Squire’s, if you dare—just keep that bottle of Fernet Branca on hand for the morning after.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 brown sugar cube
  • several dashes of lemon bitters
  • 1⁄2 ounce (15 ml) botanical gin
  • 2 ounces (60 ml) squire’s strawberry-rhubarb shrub (recipe follows)
  • 1 1⁄2 ounces (45 ml) champagne or dry sparkling wine
  • l long lemon zest twist

 INSTRUCTIONS

Add the sugar cube to a champagne flute, and moisten with the lemon bitters. Then add the gin and the Squire’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Shrub, and top with champagne. Garnish with a long lemon zest twist. Note: To prepare this flute, combine very finely chopped lemon zest and sugar, wet the rim of the glass with lemon, and dip the glass into yellow-colored sugar. Voila!