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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

French 75

Legend has it that the French 75 cocktail was invented in France during the First World War and named after the French 75 recoilless canon, renowned for being able to keep up a rapid rate of fire with high accuracy.  It is rumored to have quite a kick, and it is a little stronger than most champagne cocktails.  Since it’s almost 100 years old, there are a lot of recipe variations available.  (I’ve seen one that uses gin, calvados, and absinthe, and others substitute cognac for the gin.)  Feel free to do some research and experiment if this version is not to your taste.  Like most champagne cocktails, it’s easy to make, fun to drink, and looks elegant in a flute. 

The original French recipe only calls for four ingredients, champagne included, and no mixing or shaking.  It uses a lot less gin, so I’ve adjusted my recipe closer to most American recipes.  Unless you keep your gin in the freezer and your lemons in the fridge, you will want to either shake or stir the non-champagne ingredients to chill them down so they don’t warm up your champagne.  Note that if you’re using sweeter champagne, you may want to cut back on the simple syrup.  The recipe below will make about two ounces, and most flutes only hold around six, so you can use the shaker contents for two cocktails if you want to have more champagne in the mix (this is closer to the original recipe).  This cocktail is worth a little extra effort to get it right.  You should really enjoy the interplay of the botanicals in the gin with the fruit in the champagne.

French 75 (with acknowledgement to

1 oz Bombay Sapphire® Gin

½ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ oz simple syrup

4-5oz well chilled champagne

Combine gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup with cracked ice in a shaker.  Shake like you’re trying to whip up a nice froth on a cup of chocolat chaud while thinking of Juliette Binoche.  Strain into a chilled champagne flute and fill with ice cold champagne.  Garnish with a maraschino cherry in the glass and a small orange wedge on the lip.  Get ready for a treat. 



  1. Tried this over Christmas. What a revelation. It's a really excellent drink.
    We've recently replaced our use of Bombay with the New Amsterdam Gin for these types of drinks. Cheaper and still every bit as nice.

  2. The French 75 is probably my favorite Champagne cocktail. I recently bought a pump for sparkling wine bottles that maintains pressure after they are open so that I can enjoy an F75 without having to down a whole bottle.

    I'll have to try the New Amsterdam Gin, especially if it's a lot cheaper than Bombay. I see the state store has a sale on the large bottles this month.