I wanted to create a playful and somewhat macabre cocktail for Bastille Day this year that was a take on a classic French cocktail. Champagne cocktails seemed very fitting especially as we were going over my friend Shalini’s house a Bastille Day dinner party, an admitted Francophile and lover of champagne.
I found my inspiration for the Guillotini in the French 75 cocktail made from gin, champagne, lemon juice and sugar. The drink was originally concocted in the Franco-American war by mixing champagne with cognac as it was readily available and the combination was said to have such a kick that it felt like being shelled with the powerful French 75mm howitzer artillery piece, also called a “75 Cocktail”, or “Soixante Quinze” in French. The gin version was popularized in America at the Stork Club.
5 oz. Brut Champagne
1 oz. Fine Champagne Cognac
Maraschino Cherry w/ juice
Use a tall dramatic champagne flute as it will heighten the spectacle of the presentation. Poor a small amount of the cherry juice and superfine sugar in separate shallow dishes just wide enough to dip the rim of the flute. First dip the rim in the juice then quickly in the sugar and immediately righten the glass. If done properly the sugar will melt in the cherry juice and start to drip down the edge of the glass (this is actually a good thing for this cocktail). You might need to practice once or twice until you achieve the perfect effect. Now carefully pour the cognac into the glass and slowly fill the remainder of the class with champagne. To complete the garnish slice a cherry in half an then almost in quarters leaving the two parts connected at the top. Slip the cherry on the rim and you have a gruesome but delicious French Guillotini. The sweetness of the sugar rim with the bold flavor on the cognac give this cocktail a sweet kick… ‘off with their heads’ and down the hatch.