Site icon Tom Lasher Walker

Why the French Connection Deserves Some Love

History is often written by the victors as they say, and in the case of the two-ingredient French Connection cocktail, this almost certainly seems to be the case.

For those of you familiar with the French Connection cocktail, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this Cognac’s attempt at hijacking the scotch-based Godfather.

Truth be told, the reality is the other round. An obscure liqueur-plus-spirit number that seems to have been birthed in the 1970s, the French Connection was named after the 1971 film starring Gene Hackman as the awesomely named ‘Popeye Doyle’ in a true crime drama that became one of the most iconic movies of the 70’s.

As The Godfather was a released a year later in 1972, and similar to the disuccsion of the birth of the Boulevardier and the Negroni, the Godfather is technically a riff on French Connection, as opposed to the other way round.

An infinitely more popular drink that also contains an aged spirit, Amaretto and was named after a decade-defining movie, the Godfather is one of the definitive drinks of the disco-era that seems to both belong and defy the time in which it was born.

As for the French Connection, very little is known about it’s history. The drinks origin seems to exist at around the time when the simply-structured yet unspectacular foolproof formulae of equal parts spirit plus equal parts liqueur was becoming de rigueur.

In an era when the disco drink period was in it’s infancy, it’s easy to see why similar drinks such as the Godfather and Rusty Nail were seen as sophisticated and cosmopolitan.

And true to form with most drinks that were created during this period, they fell by the wayside as their recipes became either out of date, too sweet or too strong.

Fast forward a couple of decades and we see that ‘guilty pleasures’ such as the Godfather and Rusty Nail are given a modern day makeover in the bar world to suit the pallet of the modern drinker. As for the French Connection though, it still seems to be lost amongst the passages of time, standing in the shadows of its slightly trendier younger but more popular siblings.

Still, that’s all the more reason for us to bring it back from the dead. Amaretto in drinks, when used in the right way, can be a delightful addition to any spirit, especially those that spend time in wood. And anything that’s as easy and straight forward to make as a three-ingredient, fortified old fashioned style drink should always be given the time of day in any bar.

Whilst not in the original recipe, the one below includes Angostura bitters just to even out the drink, and is served on the rocks with an orange twist.

For sure its a little different than the original, but it’s also a bit more delicious and all the more modern for it.

French Connection
Add all ingredients to a rocks glass. Add one large jumbo ice cube, stir 5 – 6 times and garnish with an orange twist.
Stan Jones, Jones Complete Bar Guide, 1977


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