Make Taylor Swift's Favorite Cocktail For Super Bowl Sunday

What is the French Blonde? A sophisticated sip for the Chiefs–49ers showdown.

Taylor Swift is a multi-lane cultural phenomenon with the power to impact everything from NFL jersey sales to flight schedules. And while stimulating the global economy one city at a time seems like a lot of weight to have on one's sequined shoulders, the megastar seems to know how to "Shake it Off": with a refreshing, citrus-forward cocktail known as the French Blonde.

The dreamy drink is a sophisticated departure from what Swift told Vogue was her go-to concoction while filming the magazine's "73 Questions" feature back in 2016: vodka and Diet Coke. Basic, yes, but the pop superstar has historically seemed open to expanding her palate to potent potables. She enjoyed her first whiskey sour with cookbook titan Ina Garten at the latter's Hamptons hideaway. (Hot tip: The Barefoot Contessa shared at the New York Times Food Show in 2022 that whiskey sours are her favorite winter cocktail and that she marinates dried cherries in bourbon first to add to the drink.)

Perhaps that introduction to the classic cocktail influenced Swift's song "Gorgeous" off her Reputation album, in which she sings of "whisky on ice" and croons, "You should take it as a compliment, That I got drunk and made fun of the way you talk." The lyrics are presumably directed toward her boyfriend at the time, English actor Joe Alwyn.

And mixed drinks aren't Swift's only beverage of choice. Bubbly has long been a favorite, too, both in her hands and her lyrics. She sang about "Champagne Problems" throughout her $1 billion-grossing Eras Tour, was seen toasting and sipping champagne on a girls night out in New York City in November, and as far back as the filming of the music video for "You Need to Calm Down" in 2019, she posted a picture of herself holding a coupe glass with the caption, "Some of us had champagne on the set and it shows."

On a more recent outing in the Kansas City area, where Super Bowl–bound boyfriend and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce calls home, Swift's cocktail of choice for the night at local restaurant Rye was a French Blonde.

What is a French Blonde cocktail?

There's little recorded history and more speculation when it comes to the drink's origins. More often than not, you'll find the better known legacy of the French 75, which also contains gin and citrus juice—but the two drinks' commonalities stop there.

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One of the key ingredients of a French Blonde, Lillet Blanc, is an aperitif dating back to 1887, created in a French village south of Bordeaux. It's mildly sweet and light, with both floral and citrusy notes, and it's made from Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, giving it a dry finish. When combined with its other key ingredients to fashion a French Blonde, the result is an ideal sipper that is both beautiful to look at and doesn't pack too hard of a punch.

"You don't usually see two ounces of Lillet and then two ounces of grapefruit juice," explains Aaron Goldfarb, a journalist and author of the upcoming book Dusty Booze: In Search of Vintage Spirits. With the addition of just one ounce of dry gin and half an ounce of St-Germain elderflower liqueur, the French Blonde, typically served in a chilled coupe glass, is lower proof than many of its cocktail counterparts.

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Lee Noble is a cocktail specialist for Quaker City Mercantile, a Philadelphia-based creative agency in the drinks space. Noble concedes he hadn't heard too much about the French Blonde throughout his tenure in the industry until this viral moment, but says the drink is a good fit for Taylor Swift.

"Makes sense for her," Noble says. "It's a simple elevated flavor that leans hard on drinkability and refreshment, since it's like a reverse Gin-Lillet Martini with the addition of juice and the elderflower liqueur as a sweetener."

Noble suggests using Hendricks Gin, even though it's not technically a "London Dry" gin, to give the drink a rosy floral bouquet, and says that swapping out regular grapefruit juice for the pink variety gives the cocktail a different identity altogether.

"That variation is usually called a French Redhead, obviously, since it's a little off script," he says.


How to make a French Blonde cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Lillet Blanc
  • 2 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz. dry gin
  • 1/2 oz. St-Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 3 dashes lemon bitters
  • Combine the ingredients in a shaker partially filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 15-30 seconds. Strain the drink into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon or grapefruit twist. Optional: chill the coupe glass(es) for a few minutes before serving.

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    Cheers!

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