By Barbara Campbell, Managing Editor of DK Canada
When I think of champagne cocktails, a mimosa usually comes to mind — a treat to enjoy on a lazy hot summer’s day, out for brunch with friends or while relaxing in the backyard hammock.
The French 75 isn’t that kind of cocktail. Made with gin and champagne, it’s smooth and only slightly sweet, with a refreshing sparkle of bubbles and a subtle yet wicked kick. The description in Craft Spirits tells me that it was named after the kick of the powerful French 75mm howitzer gun … yikes!
The recipe suggests using a dry gin, so I picked the Loyalist Gin from 66 Gilead Distillery. 66 Gilead, an innovative craft distiller located in Prince Edward County on an 80-acre farm, produces gin, vodka, whiskey and rum, but with a twist: for example, their vodka is made from whole wheat or rye grain instead of the more typical corn, or infused with pine needles. They also offer seasonal delights such as whisky aged in maple syrup barrels, and maple syrup aged in whisky barrels.
The distillery is run by the husband-and-wife team of Peter Stroz and Sophia Pantazi. They operate a true field-to-bottle enterprise, using locally grown grains and herbs and other botanicals sourced from their own farm and other producers. Even some of the barrels that they use for ageing whisky and rum are made in Prince Edward County.
Loyalist Gin is named after Prince Edward County’s United Empire Loyalist roots. After the defeat of the British during the American Revolution, many Loyalists, so-named because they remained loyal to the British Empire, moved north into Canada to escape persecution. Many settled in the Prince Edward County area, and the region is rich with Loyalist architecture and history. Appropriately, the gin is made in a true London Dry style: it’s a bit smoother than a Bombay gin, with the typical juniper scent followed by a warmer ginger spice in the mouth and some pleasing floral notes.
For the champagne, I picked a sparkling wine from the same region by Grange of Prince Edward Vineyards (they have the most beautiful tasting room!). Shaking it together with the gin, some simple syrup, lemon juice, and ice produced a sophisticated cocktail suited to ballrooms, elegant outfits, and dancing with your sweetie while waiting for the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Of course, in a pinch it can suit lazy summer afternoons in the backyard hammock just fine, too!
Barbara Campbell is the Managing Editor of DK Canada. She is responsible for DK titles that need to be adapted for Canada such as The Canadian Encyclopedia of Gardening, Pocket Birds of Canada and the Pregnancy Encyclopedia. Barbara also tries to ensure that as many books in DK's global publishing program as possible have some Canadian content. Craft Spirits features nine Canadian distilleries thanks to her efforts.