La Fête Nationale, better known in this part of the world as Bastille Day, commemorates a major turning point in the French Revolution with the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. Now, the oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe is held on this day, and Francophiles the world wide celebrate the day of pride with fanfare. In Seattle, French-influenced RN74 is “storming the larder” in its honor with a party (think Champagne, oysters, charcuterie, burlesque dancers and live music) as well as a three-course, wine-paired dinner (and party), both held tomorrow, July 14.
To help you celebrate at home (or order one at the party), bartender Bill Turner has created a Bastille Day-inspired cocktail with fellow Seattleite’s Captive Spirits Big Gin. Inspired from the lavender fields of Provence that bloom this time of year, Turner melded together a medley of components from lavender-infused bitters and gin to tea-infused simple syrup and sparkling wine from Willamette Valley.
“Anytime I’ve worked with tea, gin and bubbles, good things seem to happen,” he says. “The botanicals of the gin to the tannins and herbaceous nature of the tea just work for me… The juniper shines through along with some pepper notes that can work through the flavor and the sweetness profile of the Earl Grey simple syrup without being overpowering.”
Outside of the cocktails, Turner suggests celebrating Bastille Day at RN74 for another reason. “My favorite thing about Bastille Day comes from work: the burlesque dancers,” he adds. “We hire The Bordeaux Project and they are incredibly talented.”
Thanks to Turner and the team at RN74, just five ingredients get you halfway to Bastille Day — the other/consumption half is up to you.
French Summer Sparkle
Recipe by Bill Turner, RN74 Seattle
Makes 1 cocktail
1 ounce Big Gin
1/2 ounce Earl Grey simple syrup*
1/2 ounce lemon juice
2 dashes lavender bitters
1-2 ounces Argyle Winery 2014 Brut, to top
Combine the gin, simple syrup, lemon juice and bitters in a mixing tin and fill with ice. Cap, shake and strain into a coupe, then top with the sparkling wine.
*For the simple syrup, bring 1/2 cup of Earl Grey tea and 1 quart of water to a low boil. Simmer for 10 minutes and add 1 quart of sugar. Remove from the heat and strain.