About French 75
In the realm of mixed drinks, nothing’s more classy than a champagne cocktail. From the classic flutes to the fruit garnishes to the bubbly drink itself, they’re the perfect fit for kicking the status of your party up a notch.
And when it comes to the iconic French 75, you can’t get more classic and classy than this.
Why is it called a French 75?
Though the 75 Cocktail may have an elegant look, it’s namesake is a little rough around the edges.
This drink originated during World War I in the New York Bar in Paris by a barman named Harry MacElhone. Simply coined as the “75,” it appeared in numerous cocktail mixing books in the 1920’s.
As for the name, it was called a 75 (and later the present-day French 75) because the flavor combination of gin, lemon, and champagne “was said to have such a kick that it felt like being shelled with the powerful French 75mm field gun.”
What is in a French 75?
1 – A chilled dry champagne (or dry sparkling white wine).
You don’t need to be too choosy when picking some bubbly, but you do want to make sure that whatever you pick is not sweet. Like many champagne cocktails, the purpose of the French 75 is to mix some sweetness into the drink, so it’s best to start off with a champagne that has a dry or sharp flavor. If you need some help picking the right champagne, check out this list for finding the best one on any budget. For me, I tend to like Schramsburg Cremeant for this type of drink.
2 – Gin.
When picking a gin, you can go with whatever fits best in your price point. I personally like to keep Citadelle Gin on hand.
3 – Lemon juice.
To achieve the true tart kick of this cocktail, lemon juice (and a lemon twist as garnish) are crucial. You can use either freshly squeezed lemon or storebought.
4 – Simple syrup (or just some sugar).
Purists of this cocktail will insist on using granulated sugar, and you totally can – but when working with chilled drinks, I’ve found that granulated sugar does not always dissolve, resulting in most of the sugar sticking to the cocktail shaker.
This is why I like to use simple syrup. The sweetness is already an inherent part of the liquid and will always transfer properly to your drink, giving you a consistent taste for every drink you mix.
How to measure this drink
This cocktail is written like a standard drink recipe, meaning that instead of an exact measurement (ex: 1 cup) the recipe will read “1 part.”
I know this can be a little confusing at first, but I’ve found the best way to think of it as this: Recipes that measure in parts usually mean it’s written so that you can adjust the size of the drink to whatever you want but keep the ratio of the ingredients correct at the same time.
For example, let’s say you wanted to make one drink – this typically means you’re using 1 standard shot glass for measuring. So then when the recipe says “1 part” you would interpret that amount as “1 standard shot glass” full. If the recipe says “1/2 part” you’d fill the shot glass half way so that it’s “1/2 standard shot glass.” OR, let’s say you wanted to make enough drinks for a few friends. When making the drink you could interpret “1 part” as “1 cup” (or “1/2 part” to “1/2 cup.”)
This way the drink will taste the same no matter what size you make it.
Notes & tips for this 75 cocktail
- When serving this champagne cocktail, be sure to have a set of classic champagne flute on hand.
- Like most mixed drinks, you’ll need a trusty cocktail shaker to make the 75 cocktail. I use a Mason Jar and Stainless Steel Cocktail Shaker Set that has a rustic look that’s fun for parties. If you already have a ton of mason jars and just need a cocktail shaker lid, you can pick up on here: Mason Jar Cocktail Shaker Lid.
- Curious how to make a lemon twist? Check out the beginning of this video for how to make a Classic Champagne Cocktail.
More colorful drinks
Also called the 75 Cocktail or Soixante Quinze ("Seventy Five" in French), this effervescent drink flavored with lemon and dry champagne is both tart and refreshing. Plus, it's as easy to whip up as it is classy, making this pretty drink a great choice for any celebration.
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake vigorously until combined.
Strain into a champagne flute, then top off the glass with chilled dry champagne.
Serve drink immediately. If desired, garnish glass with a lemon twist.