French Blonde Cocktail

5 from 42 votes

Try the French Blonde cocktail, a light, refreshing and slightly bittersweet cocktail that exudes sophistication. Made with gin, grapefruit juice, elderflower liqueur, Lillet Blanc and a dash of lemon bitters, this citrus cocktail is simple to put together yet feels fancy. Plus, it might be Taylor Swift’s new favorite cocktail.

A French cocktail with a grapefruit garnish.

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Classic French Blonde cocktail recipe

Calling all my fellow Taylor Swift fans: Meet the French Blonde, the star’s new favorite cocktail, and probably yours too.

And if you’re not a Swiftie, that’s okay — this cocktail with a beautiful pink color is for anyone who likes a drink with layers of flavor. It’s sweet, bitter, tangy and floral all at once.

If you’re looking for a cocktail that feels fancy but isn’t hard to make, this is a great one.

It’s light and refreshing for spring and summertime but also perfect for winter when grapefruit is at its prime.

More French cocktail recipes: French MuleFrench 75French SodaFrench Gimlet

A French cocktail with grapefruit and orange garnishes.

Why you’ll love this recipe

You’re going to love the French Blonde drink!

  • This drink is light, refreshing and bittersweet. You can enjoy it any time of year.
  • Made in a cocktail shaker, it’s easy to throw together quickly.
  • Plus, it’s reportedly Taylor Swift’s favorite drink right now, so you can enjoy this delicious drink just like the pop star.

What is a French Blonde cocktail?

The French Blonde cocktail is a mixed drink made with London Dry gin, grapefruit juice, elderflower liqueur and Lillet Blanc. A dash of lemon bitters adds an extra punch of citrus flavor.

What’s in a name? The French part of the moniker comes from using two French spirits, St. Germain elderflower liqueur and Lillet Blanc.

The word blonde likely comes from the lightly rosy color, thanks to clear spirits and pink grapefruit juice, nodding to a strawberry blonde redhead. In some regions, Lillet Blanc is called Lillet Blond, so the name could also refer to its alias.

And if you want to call it by its French name, it would be la blonde française.

A French cocktail with grapefruit and orange garnishes.

Taylor Swift’s favorite cocktail

Singer Taylor Swift reportedly ordered a French Blonde as her “drink of choice” when she visited the restaurant Rye in Kansas City on a girls’ night out with friends in December 2023, according to Page Six. The gals also enjoyed the restaurant’s homemade cinnamon rolls for dessert, a favorite of her beau Travis Kelce.

The French Blonde version on Rye’s menu features Tom’s Town Botanical Gin, Lillet Blanc, fresh grapefruit juice, St. Germain elderflower liqueur and a garnish of fresh thyme.

In her Vogue 73 Questions interview in April 2016, Swift said her favorite cocktail was a Vodka Diet Coke, which is similar to a Rum & Coke but with vodka in lieu of rum and Diet Coke for the cola.

This isn’t the drink’s only reference in pop culture. It got a shoutout in the 2015 novel China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan via one of the author’s trademark footnotes.

A French Blonde cocktail being poured into a glass with grapefruit.

What a French Blonde tastes like

The French Blonde is a cocktail with lots of layers of flavor.

  • bittersweet — This is thanks to the sweet-tart grapefruit juice. (Fresh juice will have more sweetness than store-bought though!)
  • herbal — Gin is made from juniper berries and other botanical elements, bringing in an earthy, herbal flavor. If you’re not a gin fan, you can substitute vodka instead.
  • floral — Elderflower liqueur has the soft, sweet flavors of elderflowers, which are the flowers on elderberry bushes. The flowers are fragrant, making a liqueur that’s like drinking a garden. (Try it in the Elderflower French 75!) Some types of gin also have floral aromas and the Lillet Blanc used in this cocktail is also somewhat flowery with hints of honey, orange and pine.
  • sour — Grapefruit juice and lemon bitters bring in their bright citrus flavors. Use fresh grapefruit juice for the most flavorful and slightly sweeter juice.
A French person holding a cocktail glass with a gold handle.

Tools & equipment

What do you need to make a French Blonde? Not a whole lot! It doesn’t need any special equipment — if you have a basic bartending set, you can make this cocktail. You’ll need:

  • jigger: This tool helps you measure liquids in ounces to easily pour into cocktails.
  • shaker: An ice-filled cocktail shaker is what you need to mix it all up together. Ensure the lid is secured well so it doesn’t leak when you shake, shake, shake it off.
  • strainer: Some shakers have built-in strainers — these are called three-piece shakers or cobbler shakers. The two-piece kind, called Boston shakers, will need a separate Hawthorne strainer to hold back ice and any pulp from the grapefruit juice.

If you don’t have these, you can hack the cocktail with a mason jar and some measuring cups. Don’t stress!

How to serve a French Blonde drink

Using the right glass will help your drinks feel professional. Plus, different drinks use certain types of glassware, which helps make the drink taste better and maintain the right temperature and texture. For example, narrow champagne flutes allow the bubbles to travel much further, preserving the bubbly texture.

The French Blonde is usually served in a coupe glass, which is a stemmed cocktail glass with a rounded bowl shape. It’s similar to the v-shaped martini glass, which you could also use here and call it a French Blonde Martini.

Not just for elegance, the shallow shape of these also allows the liquid to come close to your nose, enhancing each sip with the sweet, sour, bitter, floral and herbal fragrances. It would also be absolute perfection in a rocks glass with a floral ice cube.

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Ingredients

Here are the simple ingredients you’ll need to grab at the grocery store and/or liquor store to make this recipe:

Elderflower liqueur: St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur is the most popular brand, though others are on the market, including Bols, Fiorente and Chase. Try it in one of these elderflower cocktails next.

London Dry gin: Different gins will slightly change the flavor of your French Blonde. London Dry is the most common and works really well in this drink. You can also substitute vodka if you don’t like the taste of gin.

Check out Gin 101 for a crash course on this spirit, the top brands to buy and what else you can make with it.

Lillet Blanc: This is a French apéritif wine, a type of bitter liqueur. There are three types of Lillet: Blanc, Rouge and Rosé, which are clear, red and pink. You are looking for the clear one here. It is also sometimes called Lillet Blonde. If you have some leftover, try it in a white negroni.

Grapefruit juice: If you have the means to juice a fresh grapefruit, this drink will be all the better for it. If not, a high-quality brand will work just fine, but I don’t recommend using grapefruit juice concentrate.

Lemon bitters: Bitters are a cocktail ingredient that is very concentrated, so you only need a few drops. Recipes often call for a dash, which is equal to 10 drops. Lemon bitters is made with bitter lemon peels and adds some additional bittersweet citrus flavor. You can also use aromatic bitters like Angostura bitters or another flavor of bitters such as grapefruit bitters. A splash of fresh lemon juice would work in a pinch.

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Grapefruit garnish: A cocktail isn’t complete without a garnish! They make any cocktail next level. You can finish it off with fresh herbs like a sprig of rosemary, thyme or mint. A wedge of grapefruit perched on the edge of the glass would also work. I used a thin slice of grapefruit to form a rose shape.

Two glasses of blonde cocktail with a slice of grapefruit.

Variations and substitutions

Want to mix things up at happy hour? Try one of these variations.

French Redhead cocktail: Use fresh grapefruit juice from a Ruby Red grapefruit or even pomelo juice, which provides more reddish than pinkish color, to make a Redheaded French Blonde cocktail.

Lavender Haze cocktail: Use purple gin like Empress Gin for the gin element. It’s made from butterfly pea flowers, which are blue, but turn pink when they meet citrus. It will give this drink a soft purple color.

Virgin French Blonde: If you want to make the drink without alcohol, you can use elderflower simple syrup instead of St. Germain and a non-alcoholic spirit such as Seedlip Grove 42 or Ritual gin alternative. Replace the Lillet Blanc with cooled white tea. The flavor of any non-alcoholic drink isn’t exactly the same, but this combination will still be delicious.

Change the spirit: If you like, you can mix things up by swapping the gin for bourbon, rum or vodka. This will change the flavor of the cocktail but it would still be great with any of these.

How to make a French Blonde cocktail

Here’s how to make this easy French Blonde cocktail recipe:

First, if you are using fresh grapefruit juice, be sure to strain out the pulp. Otherwise, it will float to the top, and the drink won’t be quite as smooth or pretty.

A person gracefully pouring a French Blonde cocktail into a glass.
A person elegantly pouring a French Blonde cocktail into a glass.
A French person pouring a cocktail into a glass.
A French person pouring a blonde cocktail into a glass.

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes, combine the elderflower liqueur, gin, Lillet Blanc and grapefruit juice. Shake well.

A French Blonde cocktail being poured into a glass with grapefruit.
A French Blonde Cocktail garnished with grapefruit slices.

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass such as a coupe glass. Top it with a dash of bitters. (Lemon is ideal, but any you have that sounds good will work.) Garnish with a grapefruit slice or piece of grapefruit zest.

To make my grapefruit rose garnish: Cut a thin slice of grapefruit. With a sharp knife, make a cut from the center of the slice to the edge of the peel (the radius, if you want to use high school geometry terms). Then roll it up to form a rose shape, then pierce it with a cocktail pick so you can perch it on the edge of the glass.

Tips & tricks

When you make this fun Taylor Swift cocktail, here are some tips for making it the absolute best:

  • Use fresh grapefruit juice for the best, sweetest, juiciest flavor. Be sure to strain out the pulp with a fine-mesh strainer, too.
  • Shake, shake, shake it up well. The ice in the shaker helps to invigorate and combine the ingredients, but it is also meant to chill the ingredients so you have an ice-cold cocktail when you pour it into the glass.
  • Finish it off with a beautiful garnish, such as a piece of fresh thyme or a grapefruit rose.
A French Blonde cocktail with a grapefruit garnish.

What to serve with French Blonde cocktails

The French Blonde would be delicious with anything cheesy, like a baked brie or a charcuterie board.

It would also be great with anything citrus, like spicy citrus chicken tostadas, crostini with grapefruit curd or a slice of grapefruit poppy seed cake. Grapefruit is often enjoyed at breakfast, so this would be a great brunch cocktail as well.

Of course, you may want to make some of Taylor’s favorite recipes too, such as her famous chai cookies or the colorful milk bar cake. You could also make some other Taylor-approved cocktails (see below for some ideas!)

More Taylor Swift cocktails

Whether you make Tay’s favorite beverages or a drink inspired by one of her hit songs, these drinks are here to help liven up any Eras party.

  • Vodka & Coke: Previously, TSwift’s favorite drink. Replace the whiskey with vodka in whiskey & coke!
  • Lavender Haze: Use purple gin in any cocktail, like a French 75, to give it a purple vibe like her hit song.
  • Cosmopolitan cocktail: Taylor was spotted sipping cosmos with Zoë Kravitz. Try a guava cosmopolitan for a delicious twist on this cranberry drink.
A blonde cocktail featuring grapefruit garnishes and orange slices.

FAQ

What is Taylor Swift’s favorite cocktail?

In 2015, Taylor revealed her favorite cocktail was a Vodka Diet Coke. But in 2023, she was spotted enjoying a French Blonde cocktail at a bar in Kansas City. The drink has gin, elderflower liqueur, Lillet Blanc and grapefruit juice.

What is the French Blonde cocktail?

The French Blonde drink is a cocktail made with gin, elderflower liqueur, Lillet Blanc and grapefruit juice. Its flavor is bittersweet, sour and floral, but it is a light and refreshing summer drink.

More grapefruit cocktails

— Did you make this recipe? —

Please leave a ★★★★★ review or comment below.

Two glasses of blonde cocktail with a slice of grapefruit.

French Blonde Cocktail

Yield: 1 drink
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
With bittersweet, sour and floral notes, the French Blonde is a mysterious cocktail with layers of flavor and fragrance. And, it's rumored to be Taylor Swift's favorite drink.
5 from 42 votes
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ingredients

  • ¾ ounce London Dry gin such as Hendrick’s
  • ¾ ounce elderflower liqueur such as St. Germain
  • 2 ounces clear bitter liqueur such as Lillet Blanc
  • 2 ounces grapefruit juice fresh
  • 2-3 dashes lemon bitters or Angostura bitters
  • grapefruit slice or wedge for garnish

instructions

  • In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the elderflower liqueur, gin, Lillet Blanc and grapefruit juice. Shake well.
  • Strain into a coupe glass. Add 2-3 dashes of lemon bitters.
  • Garnish with a grapefruit slice or piece of grapefruit zest.

notes

To make a grapefruit rose garnish: Cut a thin slice of grapefruit. With a sharp knife, make a cut from the center of the slice to the edge of the peel (along the radius of the circle). Then roll it up to form a rose shape, then pierce it with a cocktail pick so you can perch it on the edge of the glass.
Tips & tricks
  • Use fresh grapefruit juice for the best, sweetest, juiciest flavor. Be sure to strain out the pulp with a fine-mesh strainer, too.
  • Shake, shake, shake it up well. The ice in the shaker helps to invigorate and combine the ingredients, but it is also meant to chill the ingredients so you have an ice-cold cocktail when you pour it into the glass.
  • Finish it off with a beautiful garnish, such as a piece of fresh thyme, grapefruit slice or a grapefruit rose.

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nutrition information

Yield: 1 drink

amount per serving:

Serving: 6ounces Calories: 368kcal Carbohydrates: 37g Protein: 0.3g Fat: 0.1g Sodium: 1mg Potassium: 92mg Fiber: 0.1g Sugar: 36g Vitamin A: 4IU Vitamin C: 15mg Calcium: 5mg Iron: 0.2mg
did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #feastandwestrecipes!
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Comments

  1. Madison says

    5 stars
    You know how much I love fresh citrus so this cocktail did not disappoint! Usually grapefruit is too much for me but it was perfect with this mixture.

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