For the last three years, I’ve thrown myself a dessert party for my birthday. “I can make my own birthday cake if I want” is generally the idea, and the theme is loosely French: cheese, chocolate, champagne. This year, to keep things simple, I decided to only serve a champagne cocktail and sparkling rose. To keep things French, I decided to play off of the classic French 75 cocktail. I infused the simple syrup with lavender and swapped out some of the lemon juice for more floral tasting Meyer lemon juice. Seeing as it was my 28th birthday, I thought my cocktail would be appropriately named the “French 28.” Nobody can agree on where the “75” comes from anyway.
A few things to note: fresh lemon juice is essential for a top-notch cocktail. You don’t have to squeeze it yourself, but please don’t use shelf-stable bottled stuff. I mixed regular (Eureka) lemon juice and Meyer lemon juice, but that’s totally optional. A dry champagne or sparkling wine is ideal, and something more floral than earthy is best. If you’re serving a crowd, you can mix the syrup, lemon juice, and gin ahead and chill in bottles. Come party time, it’s easy to serve with equal parts mixer and champagne. A champagne flute is my preferred glass.