Classics are wonderful, but I love adding my own twists to old-time cocktails. As the weather is starting to heat up, I wanted to reinvent a wonderful summer cocktail: the French 75. The French 75 is one of my favorite classics to modify, because all you need to do is change the sweetener and voila! Your cocktail has a completely different flavor profile.
The original recipe for the French 75 is simple – just combine gin, simple syrup/sugar, lemon, and Champagne. In this version I substituted a fun and fragrant hibiscus simple syrup for the plain one. I first discovered hibiscus when I traveled to Mexico last summer. The flower’s beautiful, rich color instantly attracted me. In every Mexican café and restaurant I visited, hibiscus was available in a glass of agua fresca – a refreshing beverage made from sugar, water, and fruit/tea. I fell in love with the floral flavor and promised myself I’d reunite with hibiscus back in the states. Luckily, dried hibiscus is widely available in the tea section at many local markets.
For this recipe I made a mouthwatering hibiscus simple syrup. When making the simple syrup at home, make sure that you handle it with care, because the pink color will stain any surface it comes into contact with. I always try to make a point of bulk batching when making flavored simple syrups so that I can use them in other cocktails in the future. In the French 75, I love how the floral hibiscus complements the gin‘s botanicals. The light and flavorful palate of this cocktail make this a perfect outdoor sipping drink. Let’s sit on the porch and drink some elevated French75’s together.
Recipe: Hibiscus French 75
- 1 Cup ice
- 6-8 Ounces Champagne
- 3 Ounces Gin
- 1 Lemon, juiced
- 2 Tablespoons Hibiscus simple syrup (*recipe below)
Lemon slices, to garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker with all of the ingredients except for the Champagne. Shake vigorously for 15-30 seconds, then strain into a champagne flute. Top with champagne, and garnish with a lemon. Enjoy!
Yields: Two servings
*Hibiscus Simple Syrup
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 Cup Water
- ½ Cup Dried hibiscus flowers
In a saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and boil them until the sugar dissolves. Strain mixture and let it cool off. The extra syrup can be stored in a glass container for up to a week.