This take on a classic gin gimlet, adds fresh mint and St. Germain for un petit French twist. Inspired by the new book Paris Cocktails, this drink will make you feel magnifique no matter where you consume it!
This French Gin Gimlet has a long story behind it. I don't mean the origins of the drink, though it is interesting to note that the gimlet was served in the 19th century to sailors as a way to help prevent scurvy, so yes, I've found a nutritional benefit for this cocktail. How I came to be talking about the gimlet today dates back almost 10 years ago when I traveled to the South of France for a course on writing about food, wine and travel. St. Emilion makes for a great place for writing inspiration! It was on this trip that I first met Doni Belau.
During countryside tastings and vineyard traipsing, I came to learn that Doni had a desire to start a website for women who love Paris. Bien sur! Speaking personally, as someone who eventually went on to quit my job and move to Paris, I agreed whole heartedly. Fast forward a few years and Doni now has the hugely popular Girls' Guide to Paris website. Don't worry gentlemen, your limbs won't fall off if you look, but you just don't seem quite as obsessed as we do about the City of Light. I ended up writing restaurant reviews and articles for the Girls' Guide to Paris while I was living in Paris and Doni and I have remained in touch since.
It was over my food tour across Doni's US home in Williamsburg (Brooklyn, NY) that I learned about her soon to be released first book, Paris Cocktails. How on earth had Paris not created a book on the cocktail? Well, for starters, Paris is a little slower to jump on the trend du jour than some, so they came to the whole craft cocktail culture only recently. Leave it to Doni to take it upon herself to capture over 100 French and French inspired drinks. There's recipes, ideas on throwing the perfect French soirée and a listing of classic French bars in Paris, as well as in the US and around the world.
So I'm happy to be helping Doni spread the good word on her new book, which brings me to the French gin gimlet. Paris Cocktails features a recipe for the Experience 1, created by the folks behind Experimental Cocktail Club, one of the first big cocktail bars in Paris. The Experimental people have been extremely influential in shaping the Paris cocktail scene. I like to think I'm a big reason that they're still in business, having spent many an evening enjoying their delicious drinks. The Experience 1 is made with vodka, fresh lemon juice, elderflower cordial and fresh basil. The Experience 2 is basically the same, but with gin in place of vodka.
I made the Experience 2 and was quite pleased. It's refreshing and clean with nice citrus notes, but those notes made me long for mint and lime, one of my favorite power pairings as evidenced by my mint moscow mule and mango citrus cocktail. I realized I was moving into gimlet territory, but the St. Germain kept things French-leaning and the use of the French produced Citadelle Gin tipped the scales even further. I love the depth of flavor of the Citadelle. You definitely get the juniper, but then they use 19 botanicals which produce a wonderful complexity. This is definitely a gin you could drink simply with some tonic and a few cubes.
If you want more cocktail inspiration, check out Doni's book on Girls' Guide to Paris and if you buy it there, you'll also get a great ebook on where to eat in Paris for your next trip. She'll also be in London, Paris and many cities across the US promoting the book and pouring drinks while teaching you how to do the same, so see if she's coming to a city near you. Santé!
French Gin Gimlet
- 1-3/4 ounces of Citadelle gin, or other gin of your choosing
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon St. Germain, or elderflower cordial of your choosing
- 4 fresh mint leaves
- Place ice in a cocktail shaker and add all other ingredients. Shake until combine and cold. Strain into a martini glass and enjoy!
I received the gin and Paris Cocktails book for review, but all opinions are always my own.