A French 75 Cocktail for a Fancy Feel

By Christine Gallary, TheKitchn.com | April 24th, 2024

Brunch, special occasion, or a toast to another day


Topping off two French 75 cocktails with Champagne from a bottle. This classic cocktail is a mix of gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup, with Champagne poured on top.

When I want a light cocktail before dinner or a drink to go with brunch, I always opt for the elegant French 75 — not a classic mimosa. With a bright, sunny color, this sparkling, lemon-y cocktail is refreshing, crisp, and bright, with subtle notes of herbs from the gin.

A French 75 is great classic cocktail to celebrate milestones or special events with (it just might be the ultimate Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day libation!), but it’s also a great excuse to break open a bottle of Champagne any day you feel like popping a cork.

What is a French 75?

A French 75 is a classic bubbly cocktail that contains gin, lemon juice, sugar, and Champagne. It was created at Harry’s Bar in Paris during World War 1, and the 75 in the name is said to refer to the 75-millimeter field guns used in the war. There has been some debate that the French 75 was originally made with cognac rather than gin, but it is now known as a gin-based cocktail.

Key ingredients in a French 75

Lemon. You’ll need a whole lemon for its zest and juice. For a slightly more floral French 75, use a Meyer lemon instead.

Gin. Any kind of gin will work here; choose your favorite or go with London dry for a more herbaceous flavor. I like the citrus and juniper notes of Gray Whale gin with the Champagne and lemon in this drink.

Simple syrup. Stick to a simple syrup that’s equal parts water and sugar.

Sparkling wine. Use a dry sparkling wine, such as brut Champagne, to balance out the sweetness in the simple syrup. Make sure it’s chilled, as it’s poured straight into the glass after the base of the cocktail is shaken and strained.

French 75 Cocktail

Makes 1 drink

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium lemon
  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounces simple syrup
  • Ice
  • 2 ounces chilled dry sparkling wine, such as brut Champagne

Directions:

  1. Using a channel knife or vegetable peeler, peel a long strip of peel from 1 medium lemon. Juice the lemon until you have 3/4 ounce.
  2. Place the lemon juice, 1 1/2 ounces gin, and 3/4 ounce simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker halfway with ice, seal, and shake until the outside of the shaker is very frosty, about 20 seconds.
  3. Pour through a strainer into a Champagne flute. Slowly pour in 2 ounces chilled dry sparkling wine. Hold the lemon peel over the cocktail and twist the peel to express the oils onto the surface of the drink. Run the outside of the peel over the rim of the flute, then drop the peel into the cocktail.

Recipe note: If you plan on making multiple French 75s, I recommend zesting and juicing all the lemons first. You can double everything to make two drinks at a time in the shaker, but I wouldn’t do more than two to make sure the cocktails get chilled and diluted properly with the ice.


A classic Champagne Cocktail: Easy but oh so elegant!


Christine Gallary is food editor-at-large for TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to editorial@thekitchn.com.

©2024 Apartment Therapy. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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