Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The French 75: Elegance with a kick

The Sergeant loves to reference the French 75 as the icon of a dissipated and bygone era – the drink that F. Scott Fitzgerald preferred in Paris, and probably Hemingway as well. It's named for the French 75mm artillery gun of WWI.

When Stir Cooking School offered the French 75 as a special for the Paris Nights cooking class, you know I had to have one.

Recipes vary, but the basic ingredients are, roughly:
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • champagne to fill the glass
(Note: if your glasses are smallish, you should halve these amounts.)

Shake the first three ingredients with ice, strain into a collins glass or champagne flute, then top with champagne or sparkling wine.

Garnish with a lemon wedge and, if you like, a cherry jelly bean (or was it cinnamon?). The bar was out of cherries, so this was bartender Tyler's intriguing substitute.

I'm definitely keeping this cocktail in mind for a group occasion, when I can justify opening a bottle of bubbly. It's mighty tasty.

P.S. I just made eight of these in smallish flutes, halving the amounts, and that used up most of a bottle of champagne and the juice of about 5 lemons. Also, the half-strength is still strong enough to kick!


  1. When I was in college, I worked as a front server at John's restaurant, back when it was owned and operated by the wonderful John and Nancy Bizzarro. They also hosted the French 75 on their short list of classic cocktails and we would garnish our 75s with frozen champagne grapes. These delightful little grapes would first rest at the bottom of the flute before being danced around by the champagne bubbles.

  2. I saw your post and was instantly transported to 1973 when my step-grandmother (Grandpa's third wife) made these while regaling us with stories about customers at the bar she worked as a waitress. In those days, you didn't have to be 21 to drink (I was 18), but I don't think Grandma Claire would have cared if I was 14. She was a hoot!

  3. How to Make a French 75 was the second entry in the Psychopedia, way back when!