Leave it to the French to come up with one of the most classic sparkling cocktails of all time. Sure, the Kir Royale is better known but, to us, there is nothing more perfect than the sweet, sour, bubbly, and unsuspectingly stiff drink that is the French 75 cocktail.
When you travel to France, you’ll hear it referred to as a Soixante Quinze or “75” and legend has it that this classic cocktail is named after a piece of artillery because it packs a punch. The French 75 first shows up in cocktail history around World War 1 and, fittingly, the piece of artillery the drink is named for is the French 75mm field gun, which was used extensively during WWI.
It’s believed that legendary barman Hearry MacElhone — creator of Harry’s New York Bar — first served this in Paris during the war, but then, like so many other cocktails out there, others stake their claim. The mix of gin, lemon juice, and sugar is reminiscent of a Bee’s Knees Cocktail but the simple addition of some Champagne and a lemon twist make it simultaneously chic and serious.
French 75 Cocktail Recipe
- 1 medium lemon for garnish
- 1 ounce Hendricks Gin
- 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup or honey syrup (1:1 water:honey)
- 3 ounces of a bottle chilled brut Champagne or sparkling wine
- For The Lemon Peel Garnish: To remove the zest from the lemon, use a paring knife or Y peeler and, while rotating the lemon, carefully remove the peel in one long, continuous strip (avoiding the white pith). Reserve until ready to garnish the drink.
- To Chill The Champagne Glass: Add ice water to a champange flute and place it in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes until you're ready to make the drink. Discard the ice water before proceeding.
- To Make The French 75 Cocktail: Combine the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup or honey in a cocktail shaker. Fill halfway with ice, close, and shake seriously hard until shaker is frosted, about 15 to 20 seconds. Discard the ice water from the Champagne flute and strain the gin mixture into the flute. Add the lemon peel garnish and top with 3 ounces of Champagne and serve!