This Saturday we celebrate the birth of Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel. You know, the guy that designed the Eiffel Tower (and also the base of the Statue of Liberty, but that’s a whole different party).
Now you might think that there’s really nothing as French or truly Parisian as the Eiffel Tower, but we can think of a few cocktails that fit the bill, so we are using this flimsy excuse to put on a Parian Cocktail Party.
Paris has had a long association with cocktails. Bars such as Harry’s New York Bar and The Ritz in Paris have done their fair share to contribute to the annals of cocktail history and don’t get us started on Aperitif wines and Absinthe (although I’m sure we’ll get to it).
Cocktails Invented in Paris
This is not a complete list but it encompasses a few of our favourites and offers some easy drinks to make for your friends this weekend.
The French 75
Known as the ’75 Cocktail’, simply ‘the 75’, or le Soixante-Quinze if you are in France, this cocktail calls for four ingredients; gin, champagne, lemon juice, and sugar. The drink was created during the First World War and was dubbed the 75 because it’s so strong it feels like being shot with a French 75mm gun (which we wouldn’t recommend, although we do recommend the drink). The cocktail was created in what is probably the most famous cocktail bar in Parisian history, Harry’s New York Bar.
The Sidecar is another famous cocktail created in Paris. What isn’t known for sure, is where. There are accounts of the drink being served at Harry’s New York Bar, but there are also those who say it was created at The Ritz. Wherever it was concocted, the name derives from a regular would always arrive at the bar after riding his motorcycle with a sidecar and wanting his drink straight away. The drink is a simple mixture of brandy or cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice.
This cocktail gets its name from its eye-catching pink colour. It was created in the late 1920s, at the Chatham, a renowned Parisian bar. The vermouth-based beverage is served in a martini glass with a cherry on top. In addition to being the most popular cocktail bar in Paris during the greater half of the 20th century, Harry’s New York Bar also published a few books featuring drink recipes. The Rose was featured in “Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails.”
The Ritz in Paris was just as popular as Harry’s New York Bar for cocktails in the 20th century, so it is no wonder there are a few drinks on our list created there. The Mimosa is said to have been created at The Ritz in Paris by bartender Frank Meier. It was most likely named after the flower by the same name, thanks to the yellow colour of the drink. The recipe calls for two simple ingredients; champagne and orange juice. It is normally served in a champagne flute at brunch. Champagne for breakfast? Sign us up.
The Kir and The Kir Royal
While this cocktail didn’t originate in Paris itself, it is still very French and therefore deserves a little taste. If you have ever been to an authentic French luncheon, you know that they always begin with Kir, or, if it was a really special occasion, a Kir Royale. Kir is a French aperitif and is a result of a concoction of white wine and a fruit liqueur called Crème de Cassis. The mixture originated in Burgundy but was a huge success all over the country. A Kir Royale is a bit different from the Kir, as it uses champagne instead of white wine. So, the next time there is something to celebrate, don’t just bring out the wine or champagne, add a bit of Crème de Cassis to the mix.
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