Actual discussion of the film and novel is going to come later, but right now I’m more excited to showcase our first literary cocktail.
I took the basis for this cocktail from the French 75, which was big in Prohibition America.
A basic French 75 is gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice topped off with brut champagne. The name reportedly comes from the French 75 mm field gun, considered the first piece of modern artillery and blah blah blah wikipedia. I decided to add a specific Gatsby twist by making my own simple syrup infused with basil and raspberries.
Basil = The Green Light representing Daisy and other fun unattainable ideals that look prettier from a distance
Raspberries = Gatsby’s Pink Suit and fashion, baby
(Disclosure: I threw in these ingredients because I had them around and I was interested in playing with the flavors. The thematic justification is retroactive, but I’m still guiltily pleased with it.)
Basil-Raspberry Simple Syrup
A lot of cocktails call for simple syrup. You don’t need to buy this! Easy easy easy to make. The basic ratio is about 1:1 granulated sugar to water. I cut down the sugar for this since the basil and raspberries have their own sweetness going on.
Ingredients for Simple Syrup
2 cups water
1.5 cups sugar
1.5 cups chopped basil
1 cup raspberries (I used frozen)
Put basil and and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Make sure you stir around the basil so the mixture doesn’t overboil.
Add sugar and stir. Let it boil for a few minutes and keep stirring as needed.
Remove from heat and add raspberries.
Stir, cover, and let cool, then get that into a jar and chill until use. (I let the whole mixture steep overnight.)
Let’s make some drinks!
Glass: Champagne flute
2-3 tablespoons basil-raspberry simple syrup
1 oz. gin
twist of lemon or lemon juice to taste
You have some choices for preparation. I loved being able to chew on the sugar-infused plant matter as I sipped away, so I just spooned some of the syrup and goodies directly into the flute, then added gin, lemon twist/lemon juice, and topped off with champagne. If you want to be classier (or at least neater), you can put the syrup, gin, and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker and strain it into the glass before topping it off; however, you do lose the symbolic green.
There you have it! Delightful, not too sweet, and unexpectedly strong, prompting first ebullient joy, followed by depression by the fact that no one rents out furnished cottages in good neighborhoods for $80 a month anymore. Pretty much the 1920’s in a nutshell, right?
Spoiler alert: Like the 1920’s, the hangover from this can be nasty, so eat beforehand, don’t overindulge, and avoid buying stocks on margin.
– Lucinda learned that smuggling champagne cocktails in water bottles to a movie theatre, while enjoyable, is best accompanied by a Tide pen.