La Belle France · Bar Lyon
Reason to Believe · The Longfellow Bar
Vesuviana · Sportello
La Belle France, served by South End newcomer Bar Lyon, shares a name with the first chapter of Julia Child’s My Life in France. That’s no coincidence: Like Child, the cocktail celebrates “the beautiful France,” which in its case means highlighting French gin and French apple brandy.
Like its pre-prohibition ancestor the Pink Lady, La Belle France gets a fruity boost from pomegranate syrup. But rather than just combining juice and sugar, Bar Lyon also adds pomegranate molasses and orange oil to the syrup. Beverage director David Borsman refers to the latter component as his “secret ingredient” for its effect on aroma and texture. He notes that you can buy it at Sur La Table (just don’t confuse it with an aromatherapy essential oil).
The Calvados comes from Christian Drouin’s select line, which stands out for its inclusion of pears. “Typically, apples are the only ingredients permitted [in Calvados],” Borsman says. “But the select line allows pears, which makes it fruiter, rounder, and more fun to mix with.”
Along with those fruity components, a frothy, creamy head is one of the drink’s defining features. However, reaching that perfect level of froth isn’t for the lazy.
“You want to shake for at least 30 seconds, until your arm is tired, and do it some more,” Borsman says. “By then you have a fully aerated, beautifully textural cocktail.”
La Belle France
1½ ounces Citadelle Gin
¾ ounce Christian Drouin Sélection Calvados
¼ ounce lemon juice
¼ ounce simple syrup
¼ ounce pomegranate syrup*
1 egg white
Luxardo cherries, for garnish
Add all ingredients to a shaker without ice and dry shake for at least 30 seconds. Fill shaker with ice and shake again until chilled, then double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with speared Luxardo cherries.
*Pomegranate Syrup (yields about 3 cups)
2 cups POM (or other pomegranate juice)
1¾ cups cane sugar
4 ounces pomegranate molasses
2 drops orange oil
Combine POM juice and cane sugar in a saucepan over low heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir until sugar is fully dissolved. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature and stir in pomegranate molasses and orange oil. Keeps for 3 to 4 months, refrigerated.