Happy French Cocktail Hour!

The French have come to celebrate a tradition so ingrained in their culture that they have exported its commemoration to 19 different countries around the world. No, it's not Bastille Day or Napolean's birthday. It's l'heure de l'aperitif. French cocktail hour, unlike its American counterpart, is less about pounding after-work drink specials, and more about nibbling something tasty while sipping something tasty, like a glass of Chablis with a melting wedge of Epoisses.

For the past six years, the first Thursday in June has been designated World French Cocktail Hour Day, an idea dreamed up by the French government to promote its popular exports of gourmet snacks and wine, but also to spread the idea of the aperitif classique.

We'll be celebrating our French Cocktail Hour with a drink we've noticed cropping up in cocktail dens around the city: the 50/50 Martini (preferably with bartender darling Dolin French vermouth). Forget going dry, the martini of the moment is aromatic and tres drinkable. It's easy: just measure 1:1.

50/50 Martini 1 part Beefeater gin 1 part Dolin dry

In a shaker with ice, combine the ingredients and stir well, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon or an olive.

Tchin tchin!

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