Beverages, Recipes

French 75 (Classic Cocktail Recipe)

If you’re looking for a classy sipper, you can’t beat the French 75

Bubbly, light, and refreshing, it’s entertainment in a glass. It’s the ideal libation for New Year’s Eve, weddings, brunches, or a Great Gatsby-themed bash.

Glass of Boozy French 75 Cocktail with Lemon Peel

One sip and this classic will have you living in luxury. The elegant Champagne and botanical gin make it refined and complex. 

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Everything about it screams celebration!

For swanky soirees or sunny Sundays, you’ll find plenty of reasons to enjoy a French 75.

What Is a French 75?

The French 75 is a sophisticated cocktail that’s quite easy to make. The drink calls for a delightful blend of gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and simple syrup.

Botanical, bright, boozy, and bubbly, it’s incredibly refreshing. 

Like many classic cocktails, the French 75 has an interesting history. It’s named after the French rapid-fire 75-millimeter field gun used during World World One.

Who created it, though, isn’t so clear. Some say it came from Harry’s New York Bar in Paris in 1915. 

Originally, it included apple brandy and grenadine. The one we drink today likely didn’t come about until 1927. That’s the year the recipe first appeared in a book titled “Here’s How!” 

So, it was a popular cocktail during Prohibition. And I, for one, am happy it survived. From the fizzy mouthful to the botanical notes, it’s one smashing drink!

A Glass of Refreshing French 75 Cocktail

Ingredients

The French 75 is a complex-tasting cocktail. And yet, the ingredients are minimal. You only need four key components.

Here’s everything you need:

  • Ice – For the cocktail shaker. Regular ice cubes will do.
  • Gin – Much of the complexity lies within the botanical notes of the gin. So opt for a quality brand with a complementary flavor. I find Hendrick’s works best, but use what you like.
  • Lemon juice – Fresh lemon juice has the best flavor. I recommend avoiding bottled lemon juice if you can. It has off-flavors that can make the cocktail subpar.
  • Simple syrup – Homemade or store-bought work equally well.
  • Champagne – I like to chill the Champagne to keep the drink cold longer. Also, you can substitute it for another sparkling wine like Prosecco.
  • Lemon twist – The delicate tendril has such a classy touch. It’s not a total must, but it has a nice presentation. 
Boozy and Refreshing Glass of French 75 Cocktail

How to Make a French 75

What’s surprising about the French 75 is how simple it is to make. It sounds complicated, but it’s very easy. 

Just follow these three steps:

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  1. Shake. Pour the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake it for about 30 seconds until chilled.
  1. Strain. Strain it into a chilled champagne flute. Top it off with Champagne.
  1. Garnish. Add a lemon twist for a garnish, and enjoy!
Two Glasses of Refreshing and Boozy French 75 Cocktails

Tips and Tricks

Want to know the secret to creating the best French 75? Just follow these tips and tricks:

  • Make it a mocktail. Need an alcohol-free version? No problem. Swap out the Champagne for grape juice or non-alcoholic sparkling cider. For the gin, use tonic water. It’s a tasty option for baby showers, brunches, birthdays, and more.
  • Chill your glass. It’s a simple step that keeps the cocktail colder longer.
  • Select the right gin. I like to use Hendrick’s Gin for its cucumber and rose notes. But you can experiment with other gins to customize the flavor profile to your liking.
  • Champagne choices. Traditional French 75s use Champagne from the Champagne region of France. But you can also use sparkling wines like Prosecco, Cava, or Crémant. Whatever you choose, chill it first so it stays colder longer.
  • Tailor the simple syrup. Adjust the simple syrup depending on the sparkling wine’s sweetness. Use more for drier wines and less for sweeter ones.
  • Remember, freshness matters. Always use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best flavor. Bottled lemon juices can sometimes introduce a slightly bitter or off-taste.
  • Pour it in batches. Pour a small amount of Champagne into the glass to minimize excessive foaming. Allow it to settle from the initial bubbles, then continue filling.
  • Give it a garnish. Besides a lemon twist, you can add rosemary sprigs for extra fragrance and appeal.
  • Mix it up! Explore with other fresh citrus juices like clementine or blood orange for a unique twist.
French 75