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Cocktail stories: Party in the Back

Jeremiah Duncan, beverage director at Wood Chicago in Illinois, US, shares the bar’s riff on the classic cocktail French 75.

Party in the Back cocktail
Party in the Back is the only sparkling cocktail on the menu

*This feature was originally published in the May 2022 issue of The Spirits Business magazine.

“I wanted to add depth to the French 75’s classic flavours of gin and lemon, as well as a bit more body,” explains Duncan, when asked why he performed a twist on the traditional cocktail.

Party in the Back is a spin on the French 75, one that contains pear nectar and apple brandy, plus a touch of cinnamon stick sugar syrup. These additions not only add body to the drink, according to Duncan, but also “more layers of flavour”.

“Finally, to balance the fruitier influences I added a small amount of a bitter, grassy liqueur made from the root of the gentian plant, and a few drops of exotic tiki bitters,” he says.

Wood wanted to add “more depth” to the French 75

Hooking you in with its “catchy name”, Party in the Back is lifted from a pair of cocktails that debuted at the bar last month.

The other half of the pair is one named Business in the Front, a Bourbon-based tipple. The Party iteration, a “very pimpable ride”, according to Duncan, is considered a “rising star” by Wood’s team as the weather begins to warm up in Chicago.

Duncan says: “It strikes a great balance, being friendly and fun while having depth of flavour. Sparkling cocktails are often simple and straightforward, but that’s not the case with this; it offers plenty to discover.”

When considering how the cocktail fits in with the windy city, Duncan reflects on Wood being nestled in the heart of the LGBTQ+ region of Chicago.

“It is a joyous area that blends city life with an almost coastal feel,” he says. “This is the one sparkling cocktail on the menu, so it really stands out in that regard, giving a fantastic option to those who love having bubbles on a night out with friends in this energetic area of Chicago.”

Chicagoans best hurry to steal a taste of the serve, too – Party in the Back will only be available at Wood Chicago until the end of the summer.

Party in the Back


45ml Gin

15ml Pear nectar

15ml Cinnamon stick syrup

7ml Lemon juice

1 bar spoon of Avèze Gentian Liqueur

1 bar spoon of Calvados

8 drops of Bittermens ‘Elemakule Tiki Bitters

Sparkling wine


Compile all ingredients in a shaker, then fill shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds, then strain into a Champagne glass. Fill to the top with sparkling wine, and garnish with a cut of lemon peel.

For more recipes of cocktails to create at home, check out Los Angeles-based Bathtub Gin’s Fiero Negroni.

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