Cocktail Recipe: La petite mort dans l’après-midi

gin champagne absinthe craft cocktail
La petite mort dans l’après-midi cocktail
  • 1½ oz Beefeater London dry gin
  • ¾ oz Meyer lemon juice
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • ½ tsp St. George Absinthe Verte
  • 1½ oz champagne (or dry prosecco in a pinch)

Stolzle Weinland 6.75 oz champagne flute


Shake gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and absinthe with ice, fine strain into a flute, and top with champagne. About that Meyer lemon wheel garnish in the picture: I’d skip it. While it’s visually appealing, it’s only going to get in the way of sipping from the narrow mouth of a flute. If you simply must garnish this drink, opt for a long lemon twist instead (you’ll want a channel knife for that).

Tasting Notes

Don’t get me wrong, I love a French 75 and a Death in the Afternoon, but sometimes I want something right in the middle. Because absinthe is such a bold ingredient, only half a teaspoon is necessary to add a certain je ne sais quoi to the drink. Actually, I do know what it is—a light anise spice and a little extra body on the tongue. I find this cocktail immensely drinkable year-round, and it’s been a staple of the Fantabulon menu since I put one and one together a couple years ago to create an obvious albeit enjoyable tipple.

I’m sure my suggestion that prosecco can be substituted for champagne ellicited more than a couple exclamations of “Sacre bleu!,” but in my experience, some champagnes can be much sweeter than some proseccos. Personally, if I’m unwilling to pop the cork on some Moët et Chandon Imperial Brut or a bottle of Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut, I find that the Zonin prosecco at Trader Joe’s works well enough, providing just the right amount of tartness, sweetness, and effervescence for this cocktail. As for using Meyer lemon juice instead of regular lemon juice, I find it to be a little softer and sweeter on the palate, and for my taste, I prefer to use it wherever possible.

Some francophones out there will appreciate the double entendre of the name, but for the rest of you, know that the French would never be so gauche as to call a cocktail a Sex on the Beach (nor would they drink such swill). If your pronunciation isn’t that great, try saying the simpler, “Moi aussi,” when the person next to you orders one of these.

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