So one of my favorite drinks at PF Chang’s is the Chinese 88. It’s lemon, champagne and gin for a sort of gin martini. When Chris and I decided to have signature cocktails instead of a full bar at our reception, this favorite drink of mine sprung to mind. We’re still doing mint juleps (for which our mint is growing well!) but we like options and it seemed like the perfect “his and hers” duo.
Alas, I scoured the web for recipes for the Chinese 88 and found none! I did however find a recipe for a French 75. This WWI drink created by Harry MacElhone for returning fighter pilots is named after an artillery gun called the French 75 which was known for its kick. The French 75 included Cointreau or Brandy which is not included in a Chinese 88.
So based loosely off the recipe for a French 75, I’ve recreated what I like to think is fairly similar to a Chinese 88. Chris would like to call it an Erin 87 (the year I was born).
- Premix simple syrup by heating one part water and one part sugar over medium heat and stirring frequently. Let the simple syrup cool.
- Juice one or two lemons (fresh lemon juice is best).
- Combine the lemon juice and simple syrup.
- Pour 1.5 ounces of the lemon mixture and 1 ounce of gin into a shaker with ice cubes.
- Shake vigorously.
- Strain gin and lemon mixture into a martini glass. (Chinese 88’s are served with sugared rims. Before pouring anything into the martini glass, wet the rim and dip into a plate of sugar.)
- Gently pour in 1 ounce of champagne (or less if you like more lemon flavor).
Chris and I tested the recipe out tonight and I must say, it tastes almost exactly like a Chinese 88. I’m quite the little bartender and I didn’t even know! : )