Settanta Cinque (The French 75 gets an Italian Makeover)

Settante Cinque Cocktail

Last night, some new Parisian friends asked me to make a cocktail–something light and sparkly to refresh us in the balmy summer evening out in coastal Connecticut. My first thought was a French 75, a classic cocktail that I profile in STORIED SIPS, but we didn’t have any fresh lemons. What I did have was pink grapefruit. So I played around a bit, and came up with a fantastic summer sparkler that I’ll be making for the rest of the season.

Like the French 75, this cocktail features gin and sparkling wine. My twist was to add grapefruit juice instead of lemon juice, and to muddle in some Italian basil for a herbal accent, along with a dash or two of Angostura bitters for complexity. Given the addition of basil, we decided to christen the drink the Settanta Cinque, Italian for 75.

This cocktail is easy to make individually or by the pitcher. Slightly tart, undeniably refreshing, and gorgeous in a glass, the Settanta Cinque takes “gin and juice” to a whole new level. I think it’s so good, that I entered the cocktail in Epicurious’ Sparkling Summer contest. Vote for it here. Cin cin!

RECIPE: Settanta Cinque

  • 4-6 large basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar
  • 2 ounces gin (your preference; I used Gordon’s)
  • 1 ounce fresh-squeezed pink grapefruit juice
  • 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 2 to 4 ounces of sparkling wine (Champagne, Cava, or Prosecco are all fine)
  • Garnish: basil leaf
  • Glassware: tumbler or Mason jar

In a large shaker, add basil leaves and sugar; muddle. Fill shaker with ice and add gin, grapefruit juice, and bitters. Shake well. Strain into an ice-filled tumbler. Fill remainder of glass with sparkling wine. Garnish with a basil leaf.