The more I research classic cocktails, the more I realise their origins are often as mixed up as the drink itself. The history of the French 75 is no different, in fact, it’s a little worse. Not only are there multiple stories to claiming its invention, but there are also multiple recipes and even a couple of name changes along the way. Argh… so French!
Except that it’s not necessarily a French cocktail, that’s right, the French 75 was in fact not invented by the French, but rather named after the French 75mm field gun that was instrumental in the Allies winning WW1 – The claim was that both would knock you flat! The origin story I most enjoy is that of thirsty Allied soldiers substituting club soda for champagne to mix their drinks. Some even claim that it was drunk from spent shell cartridges. Et voilá, not only did you have the base of a new cocktail, but also some pretty drunk ass soldiers!
There are however claims of Charles Dickens entertaining his guests 50 years prior with Gin and champagne cups consisting of lemon and sugar but that particular drink was unnamed – It would appear that a cocktail is not yet a cocktail until it is baptised. French bartender Henry Tépé of Henry’s Bar, Paris named a cocktail “Soixante-Quinze” (Seventy-Five) around 1915, but this was a concoction of Gin, Grenadine and Cognac so not quite the same. The drink has since undergone many variations, some involving, Calvados (Apple Brandy), Cognac or Absinthe, some even including all three – That oughta put hair on your chest!
In the end, they should have just called it ‘Delicious’, because really that’s what it is. Whatever the story, here’s how you make it.
Despite all its variations, the recipe we know and love today was established around 1927 and revived again in the late 1980’s. The ingredients are simple and the method couldn’t be simpler, so this shouldn’t take long.
2 Ounces Gin
1 tsp sugar
1/2 Ounce lemon juice
5 Ounces Brut Champagne (though this depends on the size of your glass of course)
As with all cocktails, the quality of your ingredients is paramount, so we always suggest using freshly squeezed lemon juice. It doesn’t have to be squeezed on this Phillipe Starck Alessi juicer, but it sure helps add to the French fanciness of it all.
Pour your lemon juice into a cocktail shaker filled with Ice and follow with a good dry gin. Pop in a sugar cube or 2 (depending on how sweet you like your drinks of course) or better yet, use a superfine sugar or sugar syrup if you have it on hand. Lastly, shake the whole thing up to chill the ingredients and melt your sugar! Remember, shaking is a great way to chill something with minimum dilution, but you gotta be quick as the more your ice melts the weaker your drink becomes.
At this point, what you basically have is a Tom Collins before the addition of Club Soda- The Royal Tom Collins is yet another variation on the origin of the drink BTW. Strain the mixture into a champagne glass before you get your chilled champagne ready! The modern-day recipe calls for a Champagne flute, but we like drinking it the way they did in the 1900’s so opted for these Champagne saucers instead.
Now comes the fun part. Pop Pop Pop that bottle!! Wait for the applause to die down and top up your champagne glasses slowly to maintain the fizz. A good quality champagne will, of course, give you a better fizz and a smaller hangover, so pick wisely.
Lastly, and only because details matter, garnish with a lemon rind before clinking your glasses and enjoying! “Vive le Liberté” !!
Once you get the French 75 down you may want to try your hand at some of the Other variations that have found their way into cocktail history. The French 95, takes an American approach by substituting gin for bourbon, while the French 125 celebrates France with cognac over gin. For those feeling brave, you can attempt La Perla’s (a tequila bar in Paris) Mexican 55 that uses tequila over gin and adds a dash of bitters or you can replace the tequila with Vodka for a French 76 – Though surely that would be a Russian 75? The list goes on, and like most drinks it all comes down to personal preference, personally, we like to stick with the classics on this one.
Okay. Drink responsibly and stay fancy.
30 thoughts on “WMBW Drinks – The French 75”
Really like you blog posts! Keep up the good work 🙌🏻🔥
Thank you Sonny, glad you enjoyed them!
Beautifully shot! Must try out this drink 🖤
Thank you for the compliment Poch! Let us know your thoughts if you try it out!
Wow this is so amazing!! You did an awesome job bro. What do you use when you take your photos? Also edit pls
Thank you ‘MenWithStreet’ we shoot on a fuji Xt1 and use different lenses for different shots, the editing is all done in lightroom.
Amazing blog! Can’t wait for your next post 🤗
Thank you Dominik, wont keep you waiting for too long.
Thanks for sharing sounds like a great drink to try
Pleasure Aidan, it certainly is a drink to celebrate to.
Another great post with fantastic tips! 🙂
Glad you enjoyed it Manuel, hope you try out the drink soon.
See now I’m going to have to go out and buy a while bar set to try this lol
You should already have a whole Bar Set East!! But just in case, I tagged some great stuff in the post. You can always celebrate your new toys with a drink though! : )
Beautiful pictures my friend! Thanks for the tips 👌🏾 Will most definitely reach out to this post when I’m making my self a decent cocktail 😃
Choose your cocktail wisely, Ibrar, if you’re not sure you can always check out the rest of our WMBW Drinks posts for some tips!
Your blog post is so inspiring
Thank you Rod, I’m glad your’e enjoying them!
Pour up my friend
HA HA HA John, the glass is full, come and get it!
I’m on my way I want some of these drinks they look so good!!!
You know where to find us Myles, I’ll start squeezing the lemons!! : )
Woman this wonderful, I get to learn how to make 75. Must taste really good
It tastes great Cyril, so best you get mixing!
Came for the article, stayed for the photos. These are gorgeous wow
Glad you enjoyed the photos! Hope you enjoyed the article too, this drink has an interesting history!, In the end, I hope you enjoy the drink mostly!
You made this blogpost look like gold! Awesome work, Sergio!
I really enjoy all your posts bro. Especially the photography is on another level. 💯
Great read! I thoroughly enjoyed the stories told by the photos as well as the history behind te drink👌👌👌
Thank you SO MUCH Aaron. Music to our ears when someone enjoys a post as much as we enjoy making them!