With the citrus and botanical elements alive within Gin, the spirit lends itself wonderfully to fresh, spring and summer cocktails. The French 75 falls under this category. It is a classic cocktail that is perfect for both hardened gin lovers and those who are a bit standoffish to the spirit. The cocktail itself has been around for over 100 years, as its origins date back to World War I, when Harry MacElhone created the drink at the New York Bar in Paris, France (just the name of the drink gives off an Ernest Hemingway enjoying a cocktail before heading to the Western Front vibe). The cocktail is named for the French 75, which was a 75mm field gun used during the war. The name came about because the combination of gin and champagne was said to “have a kick like the shell of a French 75).
The French 75 is similar to another classic gin cocktail – the Tom Collins. In fact, many will classify the French 75 as a variant of the Tom Collins. Ultimately it depends on what you believe is needed in a cocktail to be referred to as a Tom Collins, as there is a fundamental difference between the two. A Tom Collins uses carbonated water to provide bubbles in the cocktail. The French 75 uses champagne.
French 75 - The Perfect Classic Recipe
To make the French 75 you’ll need a handful of ingredients. These ingredients are:
- 1.5 oz Gin
- 3/4 oz Fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 oz Simple syrup
- Lemon peel garnish
To make the French 75 you’ll need to first create simple syrup. While you can purchase this from a local liquor store it is easy enough to make it on your own. It is simply 1 part water and 1 part sugar. Place the water on the stove top and add the sugar then heat. You’ll need to constantly stir the sugar to prevent it from burning. Continue to do this until the sugar has completely dissolved into the water, then remove from heat. You can store what you don’t use in the fridge.
With the simple syrup made up (if you’re making the syrup you’ll want to give it time to cool, otherwise you’ll be mixing hot syrup with your ingredients, which will melt the ice and diminish the quality of the cocktail. Add ice to a cocktail shaker, then pour in the gin, simple syrup, and the lemon juice. Shake the mixture and then strain into a champagne glass.
Now, top the champagne glass with champagne and garnish with a lemon twist. Of course, you can always pour the mixture into a Collins glass filled with ice. The Collins glass is easier to handle, especially if you’re going to be consuming the beverage around a pool. Thankfully, the drink tastes good in any kind of glass.
French 75 Nutrition Facts
As is the case with most other gin cocktails, this is relatively low in calories. Gin, when compared to most other spirits, is low in calories, so most of the calories and carbs found in the cocktail stem from the simple sugar.
- 160 Calories
- 0g Total Fat
- 0mg Cholesterol
- 7.4mg Sodium
- 59mg Potassium
- 12g Carbohydrates
- 10g Sugar
- 0.1g Protein
- 3.6% Vitamin C
Best Gin For a French 75
This cocktail is fresh and light. Because of this, you should opt for a gin that is also fresh and botanical. While if you’re a fan of heavy juniper gins you are more than welcome to use such an option, the carbonation of the champagne will pull the gin flavors to the top, so the heavy juniper may squash down the other flavors of this delicious cocktail.
According to Supercall, Beefeater is one of the very best gins for this cocktail. It is a classic London dry gin, and while it does possess juniper, it doesn’t take it over the top. In many ways, it is the perfect gin for this particular cocktail. It has enough juniper to remind you you’re drinking gin, yet not too much to squash the carbonated lemon taste. Additionally, when it comes to the cost of your spirit, you’re not going to find anything that provides the same kind of bang for the buck.
Supercall also recommends Tanqueray Ten. This particular gin has a more muted juniper taste than the traditional Tanqueray Dry Gin. This particular gin uses orange and grapefruit within its botanical makeup, which allows it to pair exceptionally well with the classic cocktail. Plymouth Gin also falls under this category. It combines both herbal spice and citrus to give you a solid drinking option. The spice adds a bit of complexity to the cocktail some of the other gins might not have, so it is something to consider.
A few of the other gins Supercall recommends including Copperwing Original Gin, the Nikka Coffey Gin, and the Barr Hill Tom Cat Gin. In general, it is recommended to sip your gin neat when you first purchase it (especially if you haven’t had it before). Let the gin breathe and allow it to touch every corner of your tongue. You’ll get a better sense of the flavor notes of the particular gin. Feel free to take notes on your drinking experience. This way, you’ll have something to look back on when deciding on the right gin for particular cocktails. It can be difficult to know the exact flavor profile of a gin when it is in a mixed cocktail. So taste test what you can before deciding on the right gin for a cocktail.
French 75 Variations
There are a number of French 75 variations. These variations will typically carry over the champagne within the cocktail (otherwise it becomes a Tom Collins variation). However, the variants will often bring a new, interesting flavor to blend on top of the lemon. So feel free to test these different options out and experiment with your own French 75 variations.
- Rhubarb 75
If you’re a fan of rhubarb, the Rhubarb 75 is a great cocktail to test out. Rhubarb doesn’t always find its way into cocktails, so when it does it is worth checking out. This cocktail is one of the best-looking drinks you’ll find, especially when the elongated twist of rhubarb used as a garnish. The main difference of ingredients here is you’ll create a rhubarb simple syrup (basically you’ll let a bunch of chopped rhubarb sit in a saucepan as you dissolve the sugar into the water while making the syrup). It adds just enough taste of the rhubarb without overpowering the other flavors of the cocktail.See More
- Blood Orange French 75
When it comes to cool sounding fruit, few can compete with that of the blood orange. While the taste itself is only somewhat different from a regular juice or navel orange, it’s the color that helps it stand out. It’s also the color that makes it a beautiful addition to any cocktail. Mixed in, you receive an almost grapefruit meets raspberry color. With the blood orange French 75, the cocktail doesn’t change all that much, other than you’ll also add a touch of fresh blood orange juice. Essentially this cocktail combines a mimosa with a Tom Collins to give you a uniquely delicious and fresh summer drink.See More
- Rose 75
When it comes to “rose” in a cocktail’s name you’re going to receive one of two ingredients. The first is it will include rose water or rose simple syrup. The second is it will include a rose wine or champagne. As the French 75 already uses champagne you’ll be making a cocktail with rose champagne and not actual rose extract. The only real difference between the Rose 75 and the French 75 is you’ll be using the rose champagne or rose sparkling wine. Rose will have a slightly sweeter taste to it than regular champagne. It also brings a wonderful light pink color (which when mixed with the other ingredients gives you more of a gold color tone). If you are a fan of rose wine, this is a great variation of the classic French 75 to consider.See More
- Sloe 75
The Sloe 75 variation of the French 75 uses, as you’d assume, sloe gin. Sloe gin has a very unique taste to it. If you haven’t sampled it now is an excellent time to do so. It also brings with it a beautiful color, which makes it that much more appealing. However, this cocktail doesn’t just change out regular gin for sloe gin. You’ll also see the inclusion of lime juice and bitters. It’s different enough from the classic to be its own cocktail. So if you’re looking for something different, the Sloe 75 is something you need to try out.See More
- French 75 Punch
If you’re putting on a party you probably don’t want to be stuck behind the bar, mixing up individual cocktails all night. After all, you have people to mingle with and guests to entertain. One of the best ways to keep everyone happy is to have a flavorful punch that also isn’t overpowered with sugar. You’re an adult now, which means it is time to move past the spiked Hawaiian-Punch. This particular cocktail takes the regular French 75 recipe and makes some tweaks to it. You’ll add the champagne to the punch bowl so it has carbonation already in the drink. You’ll also add some added orange bitters and orange slices to the punch. Of course, if you want to still have a bit of kid-like fun with the drink you can bring orange sherbet into the French 75 punch as well.See More
- Raspberry French 75
Nothing brings out the full taste of summer like raspberry. Raspberry has that tart yet sweet taste no other fruit is able to duplicate. You’ll also be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t enjoy raspberries, which is why it is such a great ingredient to include when making the French 75. With the raspberry French 75 you have a few options. You’ll use the champagne and fresh lemon juice, but you can switch between either gin or cognac. Each spirit gives a unique take on the cocktail, as gin tends to have more complexity but you might like the smooth bite of cognac to go along with the raspberry flavor. While removing the gin fundamentally changes the cocktail, it may be worth experimenting with, especially if you’re serving the cocktail to individuals who do not like gin.See More
- Salzburg 75
If you are a beer drinker you likely have come across a Radler before. A Radler is, in essence, the original beer cocktail, in which a lemon or grapefruit soda is used in combination with beer. The Salzburg 75 is similar to this. In fact, you’ll be swapping out the champagne for a Stiegl-grapefruit Radler beer. This beer brings excellent carbonation and grapefruit taste. Even if you’re not a huge beer fan, this is one cocktail to consider using the beer in.See More