French 75

This is the ideal summer sipper.

Active Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
5 mins
Yield:
1 cocktail

Light, lemony, and oh-so refreshing, a classic French 75 is the perfect cocktail for summer sipping, a New Year's Ever toast, or a refreshing at-home happy hour any time of year. Just shake gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker, strain into a Champagne flute, and top with dry bubbly. Then, add a lemon twist and rosemary sprigs for a fancy finish.

It takes just 5 minutes to make this elegant, effervescent French 75 cocktail. But take one sip, and you'll see why it's been a bar favorite for over a hundred years.

French 75 Ingredients

This light and lemony cocktail is a perfect blend of gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and Champagne or other dry sparkling wine. This recipe calls for the fresh, bright flavor of Hendrick's cucumber-infused gin, but feel free to swap in whatever gin you have in your home bar.

A French 75 gets garnished with a lemon peel and rosemary sprig, which adds an extra hit of citrus-herb flavor, and makes for an elegant presentation.

Can you make simple syrup at home?

If you've never made simple syrup at home, you'll be shocked by how, well, simple it is to DIY.

It just requires 5 minutes of active time to make a cup of syrup, which you can use for countless cocktails and other drinks, and that will last for a couple weeks.

Why Is It Called a French 75?

Like most cocktails with a 100+ year history, the origins of this classic are a little murky. The French 75 recipe also evolved over the decades: The original version was made with apple brandy and grenadine, which gave it a reddish tint.

Most likely, an early version was a favorite by the turn of the 20th century. But experts agree that the strong, boozy pale yellow cocktail we know and love today was named for a new rapid-fire gun that was used in World War I. Known as the "Soixante-Quinze" (Seventy-Five) for its 75-millimeter cannons, this French light field gun became a symbol of strength and hope in the war against Germany.

In 1927, at the height of Prohibition, the first-known recipe was printed in a bootlegger-friendly pamphlet called Here's How!, which was published by a New York humor magazine.

What Kind of Bubbly Can You Use in a French 75?

Champagne is the classic choice, but there's no need to break the bank on a pricey bubbly. Prosecco, cava, or any other dry, sparkling white wine will taste just as delicious.

What Type of Glass is Best?

For the sake of the delicate bubbles of the sparkling wine, it's best to serve this cocktail in a champagne flute or other tall, slender cocktail glass.

French 75
Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

How to Make a French 75

Once you learn how easy and quick it is to make this classic cocktail at home (just 5 minutes!), you may never go back to ordering it at a pricey bar.

This recipe yields one single cocktail. If you're entertaining, squeeze a batch of fresh lemon juice and set it out with the other ingredients and a copy of the recipe so you and your guests can quickly mix up more.

Step 1: Combine and shake

Add gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker along with a cup of ice. Secure the lid, and shake until the mixture is very chilled. This should take about 30 seconds, or until your fingertips get very cold.

Step 2: Strain and top

Strain the mixture into a Champagne flute or other tall, slender glass. Top with Champagne or another dry sparkling wine.

Step 3: Garnish

Rub the edge of the glass with a lemon peel to release the oils onto the glass: this will add an extra layer of pure citrus flavor as you sip. Garnish the glass with a lemon peel and sprig or two of rosemary.

What Do You Serve With a French 75?

Serve this light and lemony cocktail alongside classic bar snacks like olives, salted nuts, or cheese straws.

Editorial Contributions by Elizabeth Brownfield.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ ounces gin, such as Hendrick's

  • ¾ ounces lemon juice, from 1 lemon

  • ¾ ounces simple syrup

  • 2 ounces Champagne or dry sparkling wine

  • Garnish: lemon peel, rosemary sprigs

Directions

  1. Combine gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup with 1 cup ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds or until very chilled. Using a cocktail strainer or slotted spoon, strain into a serving glass; top with Champagne. Rub lemon peel around edge of glass to express oils, then garnish with lemon peel and rosemary sprigs.

    two glasses of cocktail with lemon and thyme garnishes
    Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox
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