Antiques Diva Cocktail Hour: French 75

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>On Friday evenings Chez Antiques Diva, Mister Divo (aka the Wine Guy) takes off his sommelier hat and tries his hand at mixology.  While each week he personally likes to try something new, testing new recipes for Blood & Sands, Horses Necks, Sidecars and various type of Martinis, I tend towards having a favorite drink – a signature drink.  9 times out of 10 when he asks my flavor I respond with a sigh…. “Give me Coco Chanel with a Dagger” –  my code name for the French 75.  It’s elegant yet packing heat!

Toma Clark Haines, French 75 Cocktail, Signature Drink, Champagne cocktail, Gin, The Antiques Diva

French 75 Recipe, per my husband:

  1. Put Champagne flute in freezer
  2. 1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin
  3. 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
  4. 1 1/2 oz rich simple syrup
  5. Fill shaker with ice, gin, lemon juice and simple syrup
  6. Shake like mad until well-chilled, then strain into chilled Champagne flute
  7. Top with Champagne (do NOT use a low quality sparkler…)
  8. Stir gently and rim the glass with the lemon
  9. Garnish with a long, thin lemon spiral and a cherry (I like to use a bing cherry if available)


The Canny Collector and a shaken Martini…life is good!

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 40px; line-height: 30px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>Here lately my husband – aka The Wine Guy – has been on the quest for making the ideal martini (note:  he wanted to say “perfect” martini but feared the backlash from any ardent mixologists in the audience).  He’s spent long hours researching gin – Plymouth seems to be his favorite for martinis – and considering the attributes of vermouth.  While I like to merely wave my glass in the direction of Italy my mister is a sucker for Dolin.

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After the martini is made we turn on some Verdi (Rigoletto is my favorite) and curl up in the living room with a good book to sip our martinis.

My favorite book this fall is Mark Hill’s latest tometor/” target=”_blank”>The Canny Collector.

It’s the perfect read for every collector, and covers a vast range of topics from what really drives the market today to how to spot the ‘next big thing’ to how to display your collection.  You’re sure to find plenty that’s fascinating and helpful, as well as learn something new, regardless of what you love to collect or whether you are, or someone you know is, a new or an experienced collector.  Crammed with practical and useful help and advice, it’s divided up into thoughtful yet easy to read chunks, a little like today’s social media. You’ll find plenty of opinions, hints and tricks of the trade drawn from Mark’s personal experience that can’t be found elsewhere.  Chapters including ‘Buying’, ‘Selling’ and ‘Fakes, Copies & Reproductions’ are joined by charming illustrations by artist Simon Watson, quotes about collecting from the rich and famous, and special features on key topics such as nostalgia, identification, specialist terms, and historic and celebrity collectors.    But act quickly – The Canny Collector is a special, individually numbered hardback limited edition of only 1,500 copies.  Price is  £18 + postage & packing. 

If antiques celeb Mark Hill isn’t yet on your radar you’re missing out. In addition to simply being an all around good guy and one of the nicest members of the trade, he is also positively brilliant.  Mark Hill was a specialist in the collectors departments at Bonhams and Sotheby’s in London before joining an internet company where he became a director, forming and running its ground-breaking alliance with eBay Live Auctions. He is now an author, publisher, TV presenter, and dealer in postwar Czech glass.  His publishing company, Mark Hill Publishing Ltd, specializes in producing ground-breaking and innovative books on new areas in 20thC design and decorative arts. He is the co-author of the bi-annual international Miller’s Collectables Price Guides, and also writes regular columns for The Daily Mail and BBC Homes & Antiques magazine.

Mark is an expert on the BBC Antiques Roadshow, and has appeared on the BBC 20th Century Roadshow and Priceless Antiques Roadshow. He was also co-presenter of BBC Two’s landmark primetime antiques and interior design shows Cracking Antiques and Antiques Uncovered.

He is also a member of the vetting committee for major international fairs including the Olympia Fine Art & Antiques Fair, the BADA Fair, and Antiques For Everyone.

Whether you take your martini with extra olives or prefer a classic twist of lemon after the shaking – or stirring – is done, do what we do Chez Diva and curl up this winter with The Canny Collector and Mark Hill’s riveting tales on collecting – diva style!

Happy Reading and Cheers,

The Antiques Diva®