The bubbly yet deceptively strong French 75 is the perfect choice from brunch to wedding receptions.
History of the French 75
Like many classic concoctions, the exact history of the French 75 remains a subject of debate among cocktail historians. Some accounts credit soldiers in France during the first world war who, unable to find club soda for their Tom Collins cocktails, substituted champagne. Similarly, other tales claim it evolved from the Champagne Cup, which shares all the same ingredients except gin.
Whatever its origin, the French 75 was certainly named after the deadly French 75mm field gun used during World War I—most likely by someone who accidentally got hammered drinking them. An elegant champagne presentation fortified with gin makes this classic an iron fist inside a velvet glove.
The gin-based French 75 is crisp, vibrant, and effervescent, with sweetness softly counterbalancing citrus and herbs.
1 ½ oz Gin: Bombay Sapphire is our gin of choice.
½ oz Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed is always best. Pro tip: when choosing lemons or limes, heavier fruits with thinner skins that give a little when squeezed will yield more juice.
½ oz Simple syrup: This is simply equal parts sugar and water mixed until forming a sweet syrup. Get it? Simple syrup?
2 oz Champagne: Preferably chilled.
Lemon twist: A sliver of lemon peel or zest.
Fill a mixing glass with ice
Pour 1 ½ oz Gin
Pour ½ oz Lemon juice
Pour ½ oz Simple syrup
Shake for 10 – 15 seconds
Strain into a champagne flute (for best results chill the flute beforehand)
Top with 2 oz Champagne
Garnish with a lemon twist
French 75 Variations
Revered for its balance and versatility, craft cocktail programs across the world are forever developing exciting riffs on the French 75. Below are a few basic variations.
As individual tastes may vary, consider changing the ratio of champagne to gin. More gin means a drier, more botanical cocktail while more champagne promotes more fruit and effervescence. Be careful not to go too heavy on the gin—the French 75 is already pretty strong!
A splash of fresh blood orange juice adds both fruity freshness and a beautiful pink hue.Remember to use just a splash—more than that and you’ll end up with a boozy mimosa.
For a sweeter experience and dramatic presentation, serve in a sugar-rimmed champagne coupe glass.
Different brands of gin bring their own distinct flavor profiles, ranging from dry and crisp to sweet and floral.
Flavored bitters provide a whole new and wonderful variety of aromatics.Available types include peach, pear, grapefruit, orange, rhubarb, and even lavender.
Using vodka instead of gin is referred to as a French 76.
Using whiskey instead of gin is referred to as a French 95.
French 75 Substitutions
Other sparkling wine such as Prosecco or Cava (which is used in the video) may be used, especially since true champagne can get a little pricey.
Cognac used instead of (or in addition to) gin adds a richer, darker feel. Many argue a proper French 75 must be made with cognac.
Replace champagne with club soda, though technically this becomes a Tom Collins, the older brother of the French 75.
If squeezing lemons is impractical for your purposes, consider using high-quality juices from Cocktail Artist.
When to Serve
The ever-chic French 75 is appropriate for any occasion calling for champagne.
Formal events: Wedding receptions, New Year’s Eve parties, or any formal events.
Brunch: The French 75 joins the Mimosa and Bloody Mary among the best relaxing Sunday brunch cocktails.
Dinner parties: Add a touch of sophistication to your next dinner party.
What to Serve
The French 75 pairs with many of the same foods as champagne. The added gin and citrus consequently fortify it to complement spicy and more full-flavored dishes.
Seafood, such as light to medium-bodied fish, oysters, calamari, even sushi.
Brunch foods, such as eggs benedict and bacon.
Like its namesake, the French 75 is powerful and should be treated with respect. Please enjoy responsibly.