Date: July, 2018
The Spirit of '06
The Spirit of ’06 is one of our entries into Tales of the Cocktail 2018 competition. The rules: make a drink like a French 75. The French 75 is said to be named after the French 75mm Howitzer, which “hits hard, and with precision.” Picking up on this concussive theme, we were reminded of a local high-impact event, the 1906 earthquake and fire here in San Francisco. The Spirit of ’06 is to be a drink that makes you feel the earth move.
It was pretty easy to follow the whole San Francisco thread for the drink ingredients. We have long been enamored with the Pisco Punch, a San Francisco icon. “Why not,” we said, “make this into a French 75-like beverage?”
“But how?” we asked.
Answer: pineapple gomme as the sweetener, classic French 75 ingredients for the rest. We tried to source as many ingredients as we could locally in California: Uncle Val's Botanical gin, lemons from our brother-in-law’s tree in Bernal Heights. We were very excited.
The result? Meh.
We could do better. We made other variations: one with Amaro Nonino (yummy, but too sweet), one with orange bitters (nope), one with orange juice (um, no). We did a lot of field studies. One subject of our study was a Pisco Punch made with yellow Chartreuse that we had at La Mar SF on the Embarcadero.
We rushed back to the lab and added some Chartreuse to our recipe. Almost…but not quite good enough.
Then we got it: Luxardo! It's the perfect bitter balance to the gomme and has strong enough flavour to stand up to the Champagne. Plus, it’s fitting that an Italian brand saved our San Francisco cocktail, echoing the way Amadeo Giannini saved San Francisco with his Bank of Italy in the days following the earthquake and fire. (Oh—in case you didn’t know—Mr. Giannini’s bank is now Bank Of America. #historylesson).
We offer The Spirit of ’06:
1-1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz Luxardo brand maraschino liqueur
1/2 oz pineapple gomme
Champagne to top up.
Shake gin, lemon juice, Luxardo and pineapple gomme with ice at 7.9 Richter for 45 - 60 seconds. Strain into a Champagne flute. Top up with Champagne. Garnish with a maraschino cherry (Luxardo, again). Take a wide stance and enjoy this drink under a sturdy door frame.