How to make Taylor Swift’s favorite cocktail, the French Blonde

Updated

April 19 will mark the official beginning of Taylor Swift's new era with the release of her new album, “The Tortured Poets Department.” The LP is to be released at 12 a.m. ET and listening parties from New York City, Washington, D.C., and beyond are ready to hear what the singer-songwriter du jour has up her cardigan sleeve.

Swift is no stranger to attention: her music, her tour and her boyfriend are the main topics of interest for the legions of adoring, friendship bracelet-wearing fans. She even has a new song on the LP, "Clara Bow," that just could be about her status as an "it girl."

One aspect of the 14-time Grammy winner’s personality that also garners considerable interest is her status as a foodie. She’s a prolific baker with impeccable taste, and favored foods of hers have gone viral more than once.

As for cocktails, there’s one in particular Swift has ordered in the past that might be perfect for when we all press play at midnight.

A French Blonde (left) and an American blonde (right). (Courtesy St-Germain / Getty Images)
A French Blonde (left) and an American blonde (right). (Courtesy St-Germain / Getty Images)

The folklore around Swift and the French Blonde

In January, Page Six reported that Swift visited Rye restaurant in Leawood, Kansas, and ordered what is alleged to be her new “favorite cocktail”: a French Blonde. The gin and grapefruit beverage is spiked with some swanky specialty ingredients including St-Germain elderflower liqueur, the aromatised wine Lillet Blanc and lemon bitters.

For those who have never tasted a French Blonde, at first sip it’s mostly about the grapefruit — bright and fruity. But, as any Swiftie who has combed through Apple Music lyrics, scanned album-related QR codes and searched for Easter eggs would know, there are deeper things to note below the surface.

The second sip reveals woodsy juniper and floral elements with a crisp and sophisticated, if bittersweet, ending. True fans know it all too well.

This chic French Blonde cocktail, from Texas Hill Country favorite Palmer’s Restaurant, was made with local, fresh pink grapefruit. (Courtesy Heather Martin)
This chic French Blonde cocktail, from Texas Hill Country favorite Palmer’s Restaurant, was made with local, fresh pink grapefruit. (Courtesy Heather Martin)

St-Germain says that a thousand elderflowers go into every bottle of their liqueur, and that’s one reason for this drink’s perfect, and perfectly natural, finish. It’s cold but not icy, herbal but not medicinal and sweet but not syrupy — a delicate balance that will hit the right note any time of year.

We caught up with Rob Guimaraes, beverage director of another of Swift’s reported haunts, Etch, in Nashville, to get some background on the drink and tips on making your own.

Guimaraes told us that the French Blonde is based on a style of cocktail that’s had decades-long staying power because it uses a compelling cocktail trinity.

“There’s a primary spirit,” he says, “with a citrus element and then something for sweetness. Here, that’s the half-ounce of St-Germain and a fair amount of Lillet Blanc.” He compares it to some better known predecessors, like the bubbly French 75, or even the brandy-based Sidecar, but with a lot of room to highlight this or that aspect, as you wish.

Depending on the gin, it could have a wintry character with stronger pine needle or juniper notes, or you might add more or less St-Germain to alter the sweetness. If you don’t have a spicy, citrusty fortified wine like Lillet Blanc on hand, Guimaraes says you could substitute vermouth or “you could even play around with a triple sec, although you might sacrifice a little of the complexity. The most important thing, though, is that your taste buds are happy.”

What does he think of the “strawberry blonde” version we tried, made with pink grapefruit? The Ruby Reds that have taken center stage in recent years will be a bit sweeter and less aggressive, he says, “but if you’d like to stay true to the name, yellow grapefruit would be the original.” Either way, he thinks it’s worth a little extra effort to squeeze your own — bottled juice will likely be too sweet, overpowering the complex but subtle flavors in the other ingredients.

Guimaraes says since St-Germain liqueur has been on the market for less than 20 years, the French Blonde hasn’t been very widely known, until now.

So, bartenders everywhere had better brush up on this recipe. If her “Eras Tour” can boost the global economy, any endorsement from Swift is sure to make the French Blonde the toast of the town.

French Blonde

Courtesy of St-Germain

St-Germain’s French Blonde cocktail. (Courtesy St-Germain)
St-Germain’s French Blonde cocktail. (Courtesy St-Germain)

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce Bombay Sapphire Gin

  • 3/4 ounce St-Germain

  • 1/2 ounce Lillet Blanc

  • 1? ounces fresh strained grapefruit juice

  • 1 dash lemon bitters

  • grapefruit twist (optional)

Method:

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake (it off) and strain into a coupe. Garnish with a grapefruit twist, if desired.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

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