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French Pearl

I was flipping through Twitter yesterday when I noticed an interesting tweet about a cocktail called a French Pearl from the self-described “dowager bartender and industry Den mother”, Audrey Saunders.  She also happens to be a pillar of the cocktail world and proprietor of the New York’s legendary Pegu Club.  In her tweet she describes the French Pearl with “think of it as a Plymouth Gin mojito, then add a dribble of Pernod”.  Sold.  I curiously don’t have Pernod…  I definitely should.  What I do have is a couple of actual absinthes so I decided to call it good.

In looking into the history, I found the entry in Robert Hess’s DrinkBoy in which he attributes the drink to Ms. Saunders, so I am guessing this is an Audrey Saunders/Pegu Club original.  He also describes it as “a delightful tribute to the French Beaux-Arts movement from the late 1800’s when Absinthe and afterwards Pastis were all the rage.”  and mentions that the pearl comes from the opalescence of the absinthe or pastis louching when it’s mixed with the ice and other ingredients.
French Pearl-1

French Pearl

  • 2 ounces gin (Plymouth)
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/4 ounce absinthe or pastis (Pernod)
  • a sprig of mint leaves plus six-ish whole leaves.

Place the lime juice, simple syrup and mint leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.  Muddle briefly to release the oils from the mint leaves.  Shake with ice and double strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a lime wheel and mint sprig.

This is definitely a modern classic.  The combination of gin and lime  (sort of a fresh gimlet) is always a classic and the combination of the mint and the absinthe adds a interesting flare that is wholly pleasant.  Definitely one to try this summer.

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