Every classic cocktail comes along with stories of its advent and those that have sipped it across the last century—and then some. Le Fizz, and its siblings Le Grand Fizz and Le Grand Fizz Croisette, aren’t historic yet. Combined, they’ve got under a decade of exposure, drawn from the world of cinema where they’re primarily served. And with the Cannes Film Festival underway, the maker of Le Fizz and its iterations, Grey Goose vodka, happened to be on site once again. This time, it was to celebrate the year’s astounding crop of films and their new bottle, the latest to fall in the brand’s annual Riviera bottle series. With whimsy that matches the setting and the drinks, artist Quentin Monge dressed the bottle with blue and white parasols. It’s the next luxuriant outfit for a spirit that frequents red carpets the world over.
Very few events in the cinematic calendar carry the same prestige as the Cannes Film Festival. “It is film celebrated through the lens of the French,” explains the Le Fizz inventor Grey Goose Global Brand Ambassador, Joe McCanta. “You go to a Cannes party, it’s unlike any other in the world of cinema. People are a bit more dressed up, but they’re also naughtier. That sums up the brand, this joie de vivre.” The premium vodka brand has been present at this festival, in some way or another, for the last 10 years. They’ve done everything from official partnerships to film parties, pop-up restaurants and tangential activations like this year’s at Palais Away avec Grey Goose villa—a magnificent home with a view over the entire bay—done in collaboration with travel game-changers Away. Their aim (as with their Oscar, BAFTA, Sundance and Toronto partnerships) is been global awareness.
I could have made a cocktail out of moon rock or spider dust or gold… I decided to make one that looks like champagne and has the same flavor profile
This resulted in the Le Fizz. “I created it because we partner with all these film events around the world and I spent so much time at—say the Oscars for example—and I’d try to make a cocktail that would blow people away, but they’d walk in, in their gowns and tuxedos and they’d go for champagne,” McCanta says. “No matter what I did. I could have made a cocktail out of moon rock or spider dust or gold. So I decided to make a cocktail that looks like champagne and has the same flavor profile.” And while that may have been the inspiration, there’s far more potency to the cocktail. Le Fizz pairs Grey Goose with St-Germain and lime, and is shaken and then topped with soda water. McCanta introduced it at the BAFTAs four or five years ago, and served it in a champagne flute.
For Le Grand Fizz, it was about putting the whole concept on the rocks—allowing the celebration to take place in the sun of, say, the South of France. McCanta took notes from another popular drink in the region. “The spritz category is massive,” he continues. “It’s been around for ages but Aperol has been the only brand to do it well. I wanted to reinvent the spritz. That’s what Le Grand Fizz is all about.” McCanta launched the cocktail two years ago. This year, he debuted a twist: Le Grand Fizz Croisette. “La Croisette is where a lot of the action happens during the festival. It’s strange to have a boulevard right on the water. I was inspired by that. I took local rose and made a reduction syrup. I accentuated the sweetness, mixed it with La Poire. It’s really fresh.” The recipes for both, below, reflect the ease and vibrancy of both.
Le Grand Fizz Recipe
1.5 oz Grey Goose Vodka
1 oz St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
.5 oz freshly squeezed lime (approximately half a lime)
3 wedges of fresh lime
2 oz chilled Perrier
Build in an oversized cabernet wine glass with lots of ice. Add Grey Goose vodka and St-Germain. Then squeeze fresh lime and discard. Top with chilled soda water. Stir and garnish with fresh lime wedges and a Grey Goose stirrer.
Le Grand Fizz Croisette Recipe
1 oz Grey Goose Vodka
.5 oz fresh lime juice
.75 oz Cotes de Provence Rosé Syrup
Build in a shaker with lots of ice. Add Grey Goose vodka, fresh lime juice and rose syrup. Shake and strain over a wine glass. Garnish with a Cinsault grape on a Grey Goose cocktail pick.
While Le Grand Fizz was collecting stories (and participating in them) in the hands of partygoers, Grey Goose appeared elsewhere too. Villa Schweppes, an indoor/outdoor venue atop a casino along the Croisette featured the Elephant (pictured in green), a vodka cocktail debuting Schweppes’ new premium Matcha Tonic mixer, blended with honey syrup and lemon juice.
Beyond the cocktails, Monge’s design certainly stirs the senses. The artist grew up not far from the beaches of Sainte Maxime, located in the heart of the French Riviera. The bottle designs came from a sketch he made at the beach in Saint Tropez. It’s all very south of France. And, for anyone who’s attended the festival in the last decade, it truly underscores much of Cannes’ undeniable allure.
Double cocktail image courtesy of Schweppes, all other images by Michael Kovac and courtesy of Grey Goose