Better Know a Classic: French 75

French 75

1 3/4 oz Gin [Bully Boy]
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 Simple Syrup
2-4 oz Chilled Dry Sparkling Wine (Champagne, Prosecco, Cava)

Combine everything but the sparkling wine in a shaker, shake with ice. Strain into chilled champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine. Garnish with lemon twist.

Recipe taken from Epicurious

It’s that time of year again, one of the few points in the year that people actually drink Champagne (outside of weddings and charity fundraisers).  As I mentioned last year, Champagne on its own is mediocre at best.  That’s why on New Year’s Eve I prefer to use it (or the more affordable Prosecco/Cava option) as a component in a cocktail.  At the close of 2015, I mentioned the Seelbach and my take on it, the Seelbeer.  This time around, we’re sticking with another bubbly classic, the French 75.

This combination of gin (or cognac in its earliest version), lemon juice, sugar, and Champagne dates back to the early 20th centruy.  An early incarnation of the drink was first created at Harry’s New York bar by cocktail OG Harry McElhone.  It was named after a piece of French artillery developed in the late 1800s.  This canon was the first to incorporate a pneumatic recoil system that kept it more stable during firing which led to more accurate rounds.  Allegedly the drink packed enough such a punch that people remarked it felt like being bombarded by one of these guns.

The great thing about the French 75 is it’s very much a no fuss drink.  You only need 4 ingredients, most of which you’re likely to already have.  What’s even better, you can easily batch up everything except the champagne.  Combine the other ingredients (scaled up to whatever size you need) in a pitcher, then just add to partially filled Champagne flutes and you won’t even miss out on any New Year’s smooches.

Another plus – this drink is endlessly customizable.  Keep it ultra authentic and use cognac or brandy instead of gin.  Start playing around with different combinations of base spirit and modifier.  Gin and St. Germain.  Brandy and Benedictine.  Grand Marnier is chummy with either the clear stuff or the brown stuff.  You could even make a game out of it.  Grab a die from one of your board games in the closet, assign each modifier a different number, and roll to see what drink you end up with.

The sip is light and crisp with a bit of tartness from the lemon.  Botanicals in the gin dance along with the bubbles, and the simple syrup provides a nice counterpoint to the citrus and tannins in the glass.  The finish continues that sweetness but ends up being rather dry thanks to the prosecco.


Let’s be honest, the best part of drinking Champagne/prosecco/cava is opening the bottle.  After that it’s always a good idea to call in some reinforcements (read: more booze).  The French 75 is sure to make your New Year’s Eve festivities a blast (see what I did there).

Happy New Year!

3 thoughts on “Better Know a Classic: French 75

  1. garnishgirl December 30, 2016 / 12:48 pm

    Now that’s a pretty cocktail! Love your ideas to mix it up. A “French 75 bar” would be nice touch for a New Year’s Eve party.


  2. You know who December 30, 2016 / 4:39 pm

    “Champagne on its own is at best mediocre”?
    Mr. Muddle needs to expand his palate and explore the wonders of this adult beverage.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s