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The French 75 is a classic cocktail made with gin and lemon. This drink recipe is classy and perfect for celebrations of all kinds!
Here’s one of the most sophisticated and refreshing cocktails around: the French 75! It’s tangy, bubbly, and a bit botanical, and it makes every occasion more festive! Perfect for entertaining, this classic French-born cocktail is ideal for anything from a brunch to a dinner party with friends. Really, any occasion is better with this drink in hand!
What is a French 75?
A French 75 is a champagne cocktail made with gin, lemon and simple syrup. It’s a classic drink on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails. What does it taste like? It’s complex and tangy, with a bubbly mouthfeel and botanical notes from the gin. Here’s what’s in a classic French 75 cocktail:
- Lemon juice
- Simple syrup
To make a French 75, shake the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker, then strain into a flute and top with champagne. Many champagne cocktails are built in the glass and don’t require a cocktail shaker, but this drink is classically shaken before adding bubbles. If you prefer, you can use another type of sparkling wine like Prosecco or Cava.
Why is it called French 75?
Most sources say that French 75 was invented in 1915 at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, a popular bar where other famous classic cocktails were born (like the Bloody Mary, Sidecar, Between the Sheets, and more). The cocktail got this name because it was as powerful as a French 75mm field gun, a weapon used by the French army during World War I.
That original French 75 is slightly different than the one we drink today. The first 75 (called “Soixante-Quinze” in French) featured gin, applejack brandy, grenadine and lemon juice. A few years later, the recipe was changed to use absinthe instead of lemon juice. But in 1927, a recipe similar to today’s was invented using gin, Champagne, lemon juice and powered sugar. The combination stuck and this recipe has been popular for almost a century.
How to make a lemon twist
Half of the fun of a French 75 is the garnish. How to make a lemon twist for a drink? We’ve got a way to make this classic garnish using no special tools. Here’s How to Make a Lemon Twist:
- Cut the lemon width-wise into a circle.
- Run a paring knife around the edge to remove the peel, cutting away as much of the pith as possible. Remove the fruit and set aside.
- Cut the remaining peel circle so that it becomes a long strip. Twist it, holding it for several seconds until the shape is kept.
French 75 cocktails for a crowd
Entertaining a crowd and don’t want to shake up individual cocktails? There are a few ways to make a French 75 in advance or make multiple servings at one time. Here are a few options:
- Shake 4 drinks in a single cocktail shaker. A cocktail shaker is 16 fluid ounces, so there’s plenty of space for shaking up 4 drinks at a time.
- Make 8 servings in advance: In a pitcher, stir together 1 ½ cups gin, ¾ cup lemon juice, and ½ cup simple syrup and refrigerate until serving (or stir with 1 handful of ice, then discard the ice). When serving, add 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) gin mixture to each glass with 3 ounces champagne.
Can you make a non-alcoholic French 75?
Yes, you can make a French 75 without alcohol! Just substitute non-alcoholic sparkling cider, grape juice, or wine for the champagne, and tonic water with a few dashes of cocktail bitters for the gin. These days there are some great non-alcoholic sparkling wine options on the market. Mocktails are great for including people avoiding alcohol, pregnant women, and kids. Try making a batch of kiddie French 75 cocktails for the young ones! (How cute would that be?)
Popular French 75 variations
This classic cocktail is so beloved, there are a few popular variations with different liqueurs. When you want to mix it up, here are a few ideas:
- The French 76 swaps gin for vodka
- The French 77 swaps gin for St Germain elderflower liqueur
- The Old Cuban crosses this drink with a minty Mojito for an unexpected pairing
When to serve a French 75
This classic champagne cocktail is festive and makes any occasion more celebratory! Here are some great times to serve a French 75:
- Brunch drink (Mother’s Day, etc)
- New Year’s Eve drink
- Holiday drink or Christmas cocktail
- Dinner party drink
- Bridal shower, bachelorette party or girls night drink
- Celebration drink (you got that job or promotion, had a baby, etc!)
- Romantic dinner or dinner party drink
The French 75 is a classic cocktail made with gin and lemon. It’s sophisticated and perfect for celebrations of all kinds!
- Make the lemon twist garnish, if using.
- Place the gin, lemon juice, and syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake 15 seconds until cold. Strain the liquid into a champagne flute. (You can also pour these ingredients right into the flute, but the classic method is to use a cocktail shaker. If desired, shake up to 4 drinks at one time.)
- Top off the glass with champagne. Garnish and serve.
- Party variation for 8 servings: In a pitcher, stir together 1 ½ cups gin, ¾ cup lemon juice, and ½ cup simple syrup and refrigerate until serving (or stir with 1 handful of ice, then discard the ice). When serving, add 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) gin mixture to each glass with 3 ounces champagne.
*To convert to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons
**You’ll get 8 drinks per 1 bottle of champagne. Make it non-alcoholic by using non-alcoholic sparkling wine and substitute and tonic water with a few dashes of cocktail bitters for the gin.
- Category: Drinks
- Method: Cocktail
- Cuisine: Cocktails
Keywords: French 75, French 75 Recipe, French 75 Cocktail, French 75 Drink