Cocktail Recipe: French Blonde

A good cocktail can be a tricky balance, and not always everyone’s cup of tea (so to speak). Spirits can be a bit overpowering, and especially some of the flavors that come with a rum or a whiskey can be disappointingly jarring if you’re not expecting it. Thankfully there’s a new cocktail that seems to be gaining popularity: the French Blonde — and after testing it a couple times in my own household, I think it’s going to be our new go-to shaken surprise.


You may have also heard about this cocktail in the news and on social media recently. Why? Because apparently Taylor Swift likes it. And I don’t blame her.

What you’re going to get with this cocktail is something herbaceous and interesting, without being overly boozy or overpowering. The sugar content from the grapefruit juice and the St. Germain is going to nicely offset any alcohol that might be noticed, and I’m always a fan any time I get to use an elderflower liqueur (I personally just find it to be a nice, complementary flavor to add to a gin cocktail).

The most interesting thing about this drink, in my opinion, is the slight acidity and bite from the grapefruit juice. It gives this cocktail just enough of an edge that it acts somewhat like a sour — with just enough bite to give it a clean and crisp taste without being overpowering. It keeps the cocktail interesting and edgy, just like Ms. Swift herself (or so my wife tells me).

Speaking of the grapefruit juice, just a word of warning that you could buy your juice store-bought (like we did) and it will be just fine. But there’s some artificial coloring in the juice that will make this look more Pepto-Bismol-esque than you might have expected. Fresh squeezed is the way to go if you can, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t find the time to go to all that effort.

Now, if you’re wondering what Lillet Blanc is, that’s a traditional French fortified wine that has distinctive herbal and citrus notes to it. (If that sounds like it pairs perfectly with the other components in the cocktail, you’re absolutely right.) To make it, wineries take a blend of semillon and sauvignon blanc grapes, produce a simple white wine, and then infuse it with a proprietary blend of aromatic herbs and spices. The wine is then “fortified” (stiffened, increased alcohol content) by adding some French orange-based brandy (think Cointreau) that has been aged in oak barrels.

Finally, let’s talk for a second about what kind of gin works here. The recipe called for a dry gin, which is simply a gin that has no extra additives following the distillation process. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a London dry gin, which is a juniper heavy version of the spirit, so you can experiment a bit with the contents. We recently tried this cocktail using the Melifera Edizione Corsa gin and it was absolutely phenomenal – by far, the best version we’d tried. But that’s an artisanal gin that might be hard to find in your local store, so for something a bit more accessible to the average consumer, I’d probably recommend the U.S.-based Aviation Gin or Scotland-based The Botanist to really highlight those herbal notes.



  • 2 oz grapefruit juice
  • 2 oz Lillet Blanc
  • 1 oz Dry gin
  • 1/2 oz St. Germain
  • 3 dashes lemon bitters

Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker, shake well and pour into a chilled martini glass or coupe.

Needless to say, we’re going to keep these ingredients well stocked in our house and make this time and time again. Give it a shot yourself, and let us know in the comments if you find a way to make it even better!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.