French 56½ Cocktail
Why This Recipe Works
by Paul Adams
The French 75 is a classic: lemon juice and gin (and/or cognac), topped with dry champagne. With its sparkle and fresh, tart taste, it’s one of the most bright-eyed and lively cocktails there is. But the champagne often adds an unneeded musky note, dragging down the buoyancy of the rest. Could we use plain soda water augmented with one or more powdered acids?
In some of his cocktails, bar proprietor and inventor Dave Arnold uses an equal blend of tartaric and lactic acids to mimic the acidity of champagne. Based on that idea, but with some trial and error to get the acid ratios just right, we came up with the French 56½. It’s a cousin to the 75, less potent (the name reflects the reduced alcoholic wallop) but just as refreshing.
Photography by Steve Klise