I switched headgear a few months ago from a feathered fascinator to general contractor’s hard hat, and since then I haven’t had nearly as much time in the kitchen as I would like. And no, this isn’t some twisted chef’s hat version of YMCA, although if you keep reading, things do get kinky.
As you either know or can imagine, building a house is full of interesting challenges, and in the case of our current remodel, we’re less than halfway done. I wish I could give you a glimpse into the progress, but well-built concrete support walls in the crawl space or metal plates on the ceiling that will eventually house hydronic heating tubes don’t exactly make for riveting reading or viewing.
The point is, housemaking, unlike babymaking, is hard work. And I don’t know about you, but after a long day spent digging a hole in the yard as big as four graves so that we can bury a propane tank the size of a baby whale in it, I’m in great need of a cocktail three cocktails.
That’s where Art in the Age comes in. I’m sure you already know about this artist’s collective who are also liquor revolutionaries, but if not, visit their site to get the skinny. Months ago, I heard rumblings that they were adding a new spirit called SAGE to their already wildly successful lineup, ROOT, RHUBARB, and SNAP. I am an AITA fiend, so I begged and borrowed my way into a review sample (expect it to hit shelves near you by January, if not sooner).
When I popped the distinctive wooden cork off the top of the terrarium-worthy bottle, I was pleasantly flooded by the high notes of good gin, without the assaulting punch of juniper. While juniper is absent from SAGE, there is nevertheless an herbaceous quality, due to the inclusion of elderberry, pine, rosemary, thyme, and of course sage, among other aromatics.
SAGE strikes me as perhaps AITA’s most mixable spirit, and so I wanted to showcase its versatility while also drawing upon the height of autumn for flavor enhancement. I opted to riff on the classic French 75, which is made with gin (or cognac), champagne, and lemon juice. I bastardized the original so much that I chose to rename it so as not to sully its pristine reputation. Thus, I give you the French 69.
The French 69 replaces lemon juice with fruit puree, and because it’s slutty like that, it doesn’t even mind which fruit you puree. The citrus and apple crops are bountifully bumper this year, so I made a ménage a trois of purees: blood orange, Meyer lemon, and Granny Smith green apple. The French 69 is an excellent party drink, because all you need to do ahead of time is mix the purees, then you can let your guests shake their preference along with SAGE to their heart’s content.
You might want to change the sheets in your guest bedroom, however, because after several French 69’s, partygoers might feel like retiring to their chambers so they can partake in 69’s of another sort.
Door locks on the bedrooms are also useful, that way your guests can decide whether or not to welcome the advances of additional participants in their tete a tetes. As you can see, Meyer Lemon and Blood Orange are happily 69ing away, but dirty Granny Smith wants to get in on the action.
Once Dirty Granny gets involved, crazy things happen, as she goes deep into the threesome heat.
Dirty Granny suggests a group spooning, and of course she has to be on top. This causes perpetual bottom Blood Orange to sully the sheets.
And then all hell breaks loose.
Afterward, a cigarette and a lie-in are in order.
If this is the kind of party you like, or even if it isn’t, I strongly encourage you to get in on the French 69. Nothing, but nothing, beats it at the end of a long, hard day.
Salty Seattle’s Signature French 69
Makes 1 cocktail
- 1 oz SAGE
- 1 oz fruit puree (recipe follows)
- Champagne or prosecco
- Shake the SAGE and fruit puree in a cocktail shaker over ice until cold and incorporated.
- Pour into a chilled champagne coupe and top with champagne.
- ¼ c simple syrup
- 1 part fruit (for example, 1 blood orange, 1 Meyer lemon, or ½ Granny Smith apple)
- Puree the fruit along with the simple syrup until you obtain a thick but even consistency. If you use citrus, deseed and peel before pureeing. If you use an apple, core it, but don’t peel it. The peeling gives the drink a better color. I add a small amount of lemon juice to the puree if I am using a fruit that browns (such as apple).