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    Thursday, July 25, 2024

    Taylor Swift’s new favorite cocktail is one for the eras

    The Taylor Swift Effect is real. The pop icon’s imprimatur moves major needles: If she wears a particular designer piece, it almost instantly sells out. (Those bedazzled denim shorts she sported to watch the Kansas City Chiefs and her boyfriend, tight end Travis Kelce, earlier this season? Good luck getting your hands on them.)

    Some have credited her with helping to save no less an institution than the NFL. (Others say she has ruined it, which is a sure sign of her power.) Her Eras Tour boosted the U.S. economy. Pundits have said that she could sway the 2024 presidential election.

    So we couldn’t help but be intrigued — and possibly influenced — by recent revelations that the singer has a new favorite cocktail. According to Page Six, Swift spent a fun night out with her fellow Chiefs WAGs (the players’ wives and girlfriends) at Rye restaurant in Leawood, Kan. Swift’s beverage of choice was reportedly a French Blonde, a drink made with gin, the French aperitif Lillet, St-Germain liqueur (a Gallic-inspired U.S. brand) and grapefruit juice. “From our understanding, (that is) her favorite cocktail,” the restaurant’s co-owner claimed.

    The cocktail isn’t a one-off; it’s actually been around for a while. Like so many mixologists’ creations, its lineage isn’t clear. Though it has a similar name, it doesn’t seem closely related to the Parisian Blonde, a cocktail included in famed bartender Harry Craddock’s 1930 “The Savoy Cocktail Book.” (That concoction is made with rum, cream and curaçao.) Interestingly, one version of the origin story of another classic gin-based cocktail, the White Lady (typically made with triple sec and egg whites), also involves Craddock and a blonde. Craddock, who oversaw the bar at the Savoy Hotel in London, was said to have created the drink for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda, in honor of her platinum bob.

    I suspect that Swift’s drink is of more modern origins — St-Germain liqueur only debuted in 2007, and recipes incorporating the elderflower elixir proliferated after that. Swift wasn’t even of drinking age then, but now that she’s America’s tastemaker, we thought it was time to give it a try. (Look what she made us do, right?) At any rate, it sounded a lot more appealing than the drink she had previously described as her go-to: a Diet Coke with vodka.

    The drink (we relied on the one provided on Lillet’s website) is dead simple to make, though obtaining all of the ingredients requires a modestly well-stocked liquor store. Gin and grapefruit juice are easy to come by (for the booze, I opted for my standard dry Beefeater, but something more aromatic would work, too), but Lillet, St-Germain and lemon bitters might take a little effort to hunt down. To quote our bartending muse: It just might be worth the pain.

    A quick shake in a shaker with ice (if you don’t have one, a jar or any large-mouthed receptacle with a lid will do) and a pour, and it’s ready. The first thing I noticed is that it’s a really pretty shade of pink - not bubblegum-Barbie, but a lovely peachy shade. And the flavor is complex: citrusy, thanks to the grapefruit, but also a touch floral, courtesy of both the elderflower and Lillet, with the latter adding a hard-to-pinpoint complexity. It’s a refreshing drink, and not as boozy as some of its cocktail sisters, thanks to the lower alcohol by volume (ABV) of the mixers. I could even imagine topping it with club soda or sparkling wine for a festive spritz.

    My only quibble with the French Blonde is that it’s a touch sweet, though I suspect that if I had used fresh juice instead of the bottled Tropicana I opted for out of convenience, I’d find it more pleasingly tart. (Even if they don’t contain added sugar, many bottled juices incorporate apple juice concentrate, which can up the cloying factor.)

    Can I imagine sipping it in place of my usual Super Bowl quaff, which is a beer, because it’s a classic accompaniment to wings and/or I’m basic? Maybe. I’d feel pretty fancy, and that might be kind of fun. I have the feeling that Swift, who embraces sequins and sneakers depending on her mood, would approve.

    - - -

    French Blonde Cocktail

    This citrusy, complex-tasting cocktail is reportedly a favorite drink of pop icon Taylor Swift. But you don’t have to be a Swifty to enjoy its bright flavors - and relatively low ABV (alcohol by volume). You could use a larger glass and top it off with some sparkling water or wine to turn it into a spritz.

    1 serving (makes 1 drink)

    Total time: 5 mins



    2 ounces Lillet Blanc

    2 ounces fresh grapefruit juice

    1 ounce dry gin, such as Monkey 47

    1/2 ounce elderflower liqueur, such as St-Germain

    3 dashes lemon bitters


    In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the Lillet Blanc, grapefruit juice, gin, elderflower liqueur and bitters. Seal the shaker and shake vigorously to chill and dilute, at least 30 seconds. Double strain into a Nick and Nora or coupe glass, and serve.

    Nutrition | (1 drink): 233 calories, 18g carbohydrates, 0mg cholesterol, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, 0g saturated fat, 9mg sodium, 14g sugar

    Adapted from a Lillet Blanc recipe.

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