French 75 to make a winner of 2nd Bar + Kitchen?
Take a certain combination of gin, sugar, lemon juice and sparkling wine and what do you get? What Harry MacElhone of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris called the French 75 in 1915.
Named for a 75mm howitzer gun, this tangy cocktail is known for its powerful kick.
But don’t take my word for it, head on over to Second Bar + Kitchen tonight and help Austin take the prize against San Antonio’s Esquire Tavern, Dallas’ Cedars Social, and Houston’s Anvil Bar + Refuge for serving up the most French 75’s in one night. (The specialty cocktail is yours at only $7.50 a glass.) You’ll soon see the power in this little sparkler.
While 2nd Bar + Kitchen will no doubt have a fleet of supporters, it will face stiff competition against it’s Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston compatriots.
“The French 75 is an iconic cocktail that perfectly balances the botanicals of gin, tartness of lemon, sweetness of sugar, and is rounded by a well-chosen dry style of sparkling wine,” says Bobby Heugel of Houston’s Anvil. “It's a great exercise in each ingredient playing a critical role in making a stellar cocktail, which are all about chosen elements coming together to make a drink that is better than the sum of its parts.”
While Anvil is easily the Mecca for all things cocktail in Texas (with a handful of Austin spots sitting pretty in the top 10—Hello, Bar Congress, Haddington’s, Fino, and Tigress), look for Heugel’s Houston venture, Underbelly, in November. This sure-to-be-hip restaurant will embrace a community feel that will focus not only on local food, but local culture as well. Houstonians will find an instant connection, and if you're not a Houston fan, “I'd like to think our restaurant might help you change your mind about our rich history, diverse culture, and outstanding local ingredients,” says Heugel.
But for now, the catch phrase is French 75, and the place—at least if you want Austin to win—is 2nd Bar + Kitchen. “Ours is very true to the original version of the drink,” says Scott Walker, vice president of operations at Congress. “But the competition is about selling the most, not creating the best, so hopefully, ‘build it and they will come...’”
Indeed, the competition is always about quality for these serious bar chefs, but we’d be lying if we said quantity wasn’t the key to success in this case.
“I think every cocktail bar in this competition is going to make a similar drink with a consistent level of quality. This is all about friendly rivalry between cities and who can drum up their base the most,” says Heugel.” The cocktails will be excellent regardless of the area code.”
Let’s hope that area code includes the numbers 5,1, and 2!