Celebrate VE Day with An English 75 Cocktail

This Friday 8th of May 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Victory in Europe Day marked the end of European hostilities in the Second World War, with festivities taking place across the continent. Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, declared that, “We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing; but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead”.

With it being such a historic anniversary, there had been many plans for street parties and events to pay tribute in the UK. However, with the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, a much more muted celebration will take place, at a time when our generation has ‘further toil and efforts that lie ahead’. However, this Friday will give everyone a chance to reflect, and undertake the following toast: “To those who gave so much, we thank you.”

Here at Great British Wine, we will certainly be toasting and reflecting, both on times 75 years ago, and present circumstances. I thought the most appropriate drink to raise a toast is an English 75 cocktail – Chapel Down’s own take on the classic, ‘French 75’, a cocktail originally based on Gin and Champagne. The English 75 combines Chapel Down’s ever-popular Brut NV with their deliciously fragrant Bacchus Gin, one of my own particular gin favourites.

I’ve made my own twist on the cocktail with the English Rose 75, a decidedly pink take on the classic formula. The aim was to make Pinot Noir the star here, so I combined Chapel Down’s blush tinted Pinot Noir Gin with their 100% Pinot Noir Rosé Brut. The latest Rosé Brut bottling is made with fruit from both Essex and Kent from the 2017 vintage, and combines crisp citrus fruits with delicate cherry and raspberry flavours. Of course, a fresh English strawberry makes the perfect garnish to this drink.

It’s a really easy cocktail to make, with or without the frozen strawberries, which can be substituted with regular ice. You can find the recipe below, along with Chapel Down’s original English 75 cocktail recipe. The sparkling wines and gins can be ordered online from Chapel Down, and can also be ordered online from Majestic and Waitrose Cellar.

English Rose 75

• 45ml Chapel Down Pinot Noir Gin
• Chapel Down Rosé Brut
• 15ml lemon juice
• 7.5ml sugar syrup
• Strawberry for garnish • Frozen Strawberries

1. Shake the Gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup over frozen strawberries
2. Fine strain into a sparkling wine glass
3. Top with Chapel Down Rosé Brut
4. Garnish with a strawberry.

A summer, tangy red fruit match made in heaven. The freshness of the English sparkling and the lemon juice partners perfectly with the cherry and raspberry flavours of the wine, while the deeper Pinot character and light botanicals from the Pinot Noir Gin add further textures. Perhaps the essential English sparkling-based summer cocktail?

Chapel Down English 75

• 45ml Chapel Down Bacchus Gin
• Chapel Down Brut NV
• 15ml lemon juice
• 7.5ml sugar syrup
• Lemon zest for garnish
• Ice cubes

1. Shake the Gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup over ice
2. Fine strain into a sparkling wine glass
3. Top with Chapel Down Brut NV
4. Garnish with a lemon twist.

The English 75 is a classy and intensely refreshing take on this classic cocktail. The combination of the zesty, aromatic Bacchus Gin and lemon juice is already a great base, but then that hint of sweetness is tamed by the energetic Chapel Down Brut NV.

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