- In a champagne flute, add gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Stir.
- Top off with Champagne.
- Garnish with lemon twist.
Variations and Substitutions
While the French 75 does have a standard recipe, there are quite a few workarounds and subtle variations to enjoy.
- Skip the simple syrup in favor of elderflower liqueur.
- Use limoncello in place of lemon juice for a sweeter French 75.
- Sample different types of gin--London dry, Plymouth, Old Tom, and genever--to find the ideal gin for your French 75.
- Replace the gin with Cognac or Armagnac.
- Consider using only a splash of simple syrup for less sweetness.
- Add a drop or two of flavored bitters, such as cherry, orange, or rhubarb, for a hint of flavor without taking over the drink.
Don't limit yourself to a simple lemon peel, or do. But there are quite a few alternatives if you want to try something different to make your French 75 stand out.
- Use a narrow lemon peel ribbon.
- A lemon wheel can be a pretty garnish but make it difficult to drink. Consider twisting the lemon peel into the bottom of the glass.
- An herb sprig such as rosemary, thyme, or lavender adds a fresh and elegant look.
- For a brighter color, use an orange peel or ribbon.
- Use a berry, such as raspberry, blueberry, or blackberry, for a juicy and colorful garnish.
About the French 75
The French 75's namesake is World War I artillery, despite the cocktail's petite and delicate appearance. The drink originated in the New York Bar in Paris, a bar owned by Harry MacElhone who also invented the boulevardier. The French 75 shares a name with a field gun, the French 75mm. Imbibers felt that the kick of the drink mirrored the punch of the cannon.
The French 75 was first available in 1922, although it had a different look. Instead of today's three-ingredient recipe, the drink then called for brandy, gin, grenadine, and absinthe. Over the years, gin became the base spirit, but some have used Cognac as well.
Like many popular cocktails, its reputation was heightened due to pop culture, appearing in the famous 1942 film Casablanca. Closely related to the Tom Collins, Harry MacElhone's recipe cited that the French 75 should be in a highball glass, not unlike the Collins, using Champagne in place of club soda. Serving it in a flute as it is today came several years later.
A Swift Kick
This bubbly cocktail packs a punch, but it's a boozy and fizzy drink that anyone will love. Whether you're tired of mimosas or in need of a new gin drink that's perfect any time of day, the French 75 is a knockout. Next, explore more French cocktails that will make you say, "Ooh la la!"