Monthly Archives: October 2013

Cocktail Revival: French 75

With the revival of pre-Prohibition era cocktails, whiskey seems to be the key player – Manhattans, Old-Fashioneds, and Sazeracs abound (all with rye, of course). This one, on the other hand, features a lovely (if not unlikely) combination of ingredients, and none of them are whiskey. Named after the artillery used widely by France during World War I, the French 75 cocktail has quite a tall order to live up to its namesake. Comprised of just four ingredients – gin, lemon, simple, and champagne – it does just that: light, zippy, and unsuspectingly powerful.

A French 75 in a champagne flute with a lemon twist

A French 75 in a champagne flute with a lemon twist

A little more history: the drink dates back to 1915 when it was first concocted by Harry MacElhone at the New York Bar in Paris. Its name followed shortly after when the drink’s kick was likened to the firepower of the French 75mm field gun.

The balance of this cocktail is simple and elegant. Dry gin and Brut Champagne combine gently while not overpowering each other, and the sweet and citrus enhance the alcoholic ingredients. Everything melds together in a way that feels just right.

Here’s our recipe (hold the Cointreau) and a few recommendations for the ingredients:

French 75

1 oz. gin
½ oz. simple syrup
½ oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
Brut Champagne or a dry sparkling white wine
Lemon twist, to garnish

Combine gin, sugar, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into an iced champagne glass. Fill with Champagne. Garnish with a twist of lemon.

Aviation Gin

Choosing your gin: This cocktail is best when built with a dry gin – let the sugar do the sweetening. Bombay Sapphire or Beefeater are good for the job, but for something different, try Aviation Gin from Oregon ($29.99). The focus on botanicals such as cardamom and lavender provides a soft yet complex palate.

J Laurens BlanquetteChoosing your bubbles: There is no substitute for a good Brut Champagne – Piper Heidsieck at $34.99 might be a good choice for balancing quality and price point. However, for most of us Champagne isn’t an everyday luxury. If you’re looking to fix up some French 75’s without breaking out the fancy bubbles, try Domaine J. Laurens Blanquette de Limoux “Moulin” ($14.99). It will give you the dry body you need and plenty of green apple and toasty flavors to bring the cocktail together.


I hope this post brings you on your way to enjoying one of my favorite pre-Prohibition cocktails. Leave a comment with your success stories or suggestions!


3 New Whiskies for October

While we might not have as much shelf-space as some of the bigger stores out there, the limited real estate come with a key advantage: you can trust that if it’s on our shelves, there’s good reason for it. We taste a lot of products and buy what we think are the best beverages for the price tag.

Our whiskey selection is no exception. We don’t have a stock room full of Pappy Van Winkle (if you find someone who does, let me know) but we make sure to keep some damn good stuff around for you. Here are three new ones for October that captured our hearts.

Noah's Mill BourbonNoah’s Mill Bourbon

This small batch bourbon is a near-barrel strength offering from Kentucky Bourbon Distillers (makers of Willet and more). At 114.3 proof, this whiskey is elegant and creamy with a long finish. Expect flavors and aromas of oak, molasses, rich caramel fudge, and peppermint. $49.99

Templeton RyeTempleton Rye

As we continue to enjoy this era of “rye-vival”, Templeton certainly stands with the top of the pack. Once Al Capone’s whiskey of choice, it is still distilled using the original recipe (although now, much more legally). A wonderfully balanced, dry rye whiskey with a chewy texture, look for aromas and flavors of Christmas spices, butterscotch, and caramel. $39.99

Hibiki 12 YearHibiki 12 Year Japanese Whisky

And now for something completely different… Japanese whiskies offer a familiar yet unique palate from their Scottish counterparts. The Hibiki 12 Year is packed with flavors of plum, raspberry, custard, and honey with a sweet finish that just keeps going and going. A whisky nothing short of exquisite. $64.99

All three of these come highly recommended, but there’s a lot more to choose from. Come visit the store or browse online at Whatever you’re drinking this evening, we hope you enjoy it!


Wines for Your Pasta for Under $15

As we move into cooler weather, dishes become heartier, savory, and full of fall produce. For pasta, this can mean anything from an authentic Bolognese to a savory butternut squash and sage gemelli. Whether you’re making a quick after-work dinner with dry pasta and your favorite jar sauce, or taking a lazy Sunday to cook your pasta and sauce from scratch, your hard work deserves a satisfying glass of wine. We’ve picked four of our favorites for under $15.

Reverdito-Barbera-D_27alba-2007-Label2009 Reverdito Barbera D’Alba (Piedmont): $12.99

A rising, young star in Piedmont, Michele Reverdito adheres closely to the best of traditional methods in his winemaking. Big and leathery with rich fruit and a little licorice and truffle on the palate. Superb acidity with a delicate and persistent finish. Serve with Bolognese.

82109_DEFAULT2009 Rocca di Fabbri Montefalco Rosso (Umbria): $14.99

The Rocca Di Fabbri Montefalco Rosso is a blend of 65% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, and 20% altre uve a bacca rossa. Intense ruby and golden red in the glass with a rich nose showing hints of wild berries. The palate is well-orchestrated, firmly structured, dry and lingering, making it a great companion for a cream or cheese-based sauce.

buglioni-il-valpolicella-valpolicella-classico-veneto-italy-100912972011 Buglioni Classico il Valpolicella (Veneto): $14.99

Buglioni is one of the best-kept secrets in Verona – wines that are full of fruit but not too syrupy or sweet. Bright ruby red with fragrant and intense aromas of cherry, delicate berry fruit and spices. Dry, harmonious flavor, fresh and persistent. This wine is perfect for pastas with fall vegetables or seafood and fish.


2012 Ottella Lugana (Veneto): $14.99

Made with Trebbiano di Lugana harvested manually from Ottella’s vineyard. Intense straw yellow in the glass with a bouquet of candied fruit and citrus. A warm and very deep palate with persistence and finesse. A fine choice for white wine with any pasta dish, especially with fish or white meat.

Stop by to pick up a bottle for dinner! Even better, let us put together a sampler case of 3 bottles of each for 10% off and we’ll deliver it to your home for free. Just call us at 617.262.0363 to set it up.