Recipes

The French 75

The French 75 is a Champagne- gin cocktail that is rumored to have gotten its start at a Parisian bar in 1915. The story goes that the bartender ran out of club soda when he was making gin highballs, and substituted Champagne instead. His new drink had such a kick, the local soldiers named it after the Canon de 75 Modele 1897, or the 75mm French field gun.

It’s a classy cocktail, served in a champagne flute usually with a lemon peel garnish, and it tastes as beautiful as it looks. It has quickly become one of my favorite mixed drinks.

I recently went to Isle of Palms, SC on a work retreat, and as a team building exercise we did a mixology class. We learned how to make three drinks- one of which was the exquisite French 75. It is simple to make, and perfect as a before dinner aperitif. It is easily made as a drink for one, or it can be made for a crowd. The recipe I’m going to share with you is pretty traditional, but I think you could do a lot of different versions by simply adding other botanicals.

You can use any kind of dry sparkling white wine, you do not have to use champagne. 1 bottle of champagne will yield about 6 cocktails depending on your glass size.

The ingredients are pretty basic:

  • 2 ounces chilled Champagne
  • 1 1/2 ounces London Dry Gin
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ounce Simple syrup
  • Ice
  • Lemon peel for garnish

You will also need:

  • A cocktail shaker- I prefer a Boston shaker
  • Jigger or other small measured glass

The first thing you want to do is prepare your lemon peel garnish. You could do tiny wedges, but I prefer to do a peel only garnish, so you’re not wasting any fruit. Using a peeler or sharp paring knife, cut thin strips of lemon peel. If you want a curly-cue effect wrap the peel tightly around your pinkie finger before adding it to your glass.

Next add the ice, lemon juice, gin and simple syrup to your cocktail shaker, and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Pour the mixture into your glass. Top the gin mixture with the champagne and serve immediately.

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