Kick off the Mardi Gras season with the celebratory fizz of ice-cold bubbly. In this New Orleans-inspired riff on a traditional French 75, where Champagne and sugar get a kick from gin (or brandy, depending on your recipe), MB instead uses a French aperitif made from wine and citrus liquors. Lillet (pronounced Lil-lay) has been in production outside of Bordeaux, France, since 1872 and has seen surges in popularity through the years as far back as the Roaring Twenties, the Swinging Sixties and again in recent years. Part of the tonic family, so called for its quinine content, it can be simply served over ice or as an ingredient in a more complex cocktail, as shown here.
1 sugar cube
1 ounce chilled Lillet Blanc
3 ounces chilled Champagne
1 twist orange peel
Place the sugar cube in a Champagne flute and add Lillet. Top with Champagne and garnish with an orange twist. Makes 1 cocktail