French 75

French 75 CocktailLast week I told you about my trip to Rye House to celebrate Mardi Gras, New Orleans-style. I mentioned some of the cocktails we sampled, including the Sazarac and the Vieux Carre. I’d like to share one more staple of the Mardi Gras celebration – or any celebration for that matter – The French 75.

This cocktail is actually named after the French 75-mm field gun; a commonplace piece of artillery during World War I. Apparently this particular gun was known for its recoil system, which allowed for much smoother operation than had previously been possible. Once you try the cocktail, you’ll understand how appropriate that is. (History once again courtesy of Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails; a must-have for any bartender’s bookshelf.)

Here’s what you’re going to need:

2oz gin
1oz fresh lemon juice
1/4oz simple syrup

Combine the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup with ice and shake well. Strain into a tall glass – either a Collins glass, or ideally, a champagne flute – and top with champagne (or other high-quality sparkling wine). Stir gently, and garnish with a long lemon peel. Some like to add a cherry as well, but I generally prefer to skip it. The choice is entirely yours.

This cocktail offers one of the more surprising combinations in the bartending world – gin and champagne. But with the lemon and sugar to balance things out, it works beautifully. And as Ted points out in talking about the appropriateness of the cocktail’s name, “….smooth, yet packs a wallop.” So true.


Tags: champagne, cocktail, gin, lemon, simple syrup

One Response to “French 75”

  1. Rob Marais Says:

    Josh, I’m glad you came down on the gin side of the French 75 equation instead of cognac, which I don’t think complements Champagne-style sparkling wine at all. For economy’s sake I settle for any drinkable brut bubbly à la methode Champagnoise, and my French 75 on New Year’s Day (using the previous evening’s New Mexico fizz) was excellent with gin, a total fail with cognac. De gustibus etc.

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