This is a French 75. It looks wimpy and inappropriate for most drunken occasions. I have often found myself in the middle of a sports bar delicately sipping on a champagne glass adorned with a lemon peel while a bunch of sweaty bros elbow me in the face during a celebratory cheer.
They don’t know the secret.
Everything about the French 75 is deceiving. The fragile glass. The bubbly champagne. The stupid, curly lemon peel. It’s secret weapon is a healthy dose of gin hiding deep within the bubbles.
I recently learned how to make this cocktail, mostly because it amuses me to get dubious looks from houseguests who underestimate the drink and end up sloppily touching my hair and telling me the same story twice.
The French 75’s magic has a very conflicting history from a variety of unreliable sources, however, all versions of the story are appropriately badass:
- English soldiers in France during World War I combined all the ingredients they had at their disposal (gin, champagne, lemon, sugar) in a 75-millimeter artillery piece.
- Both Charles Dickens and Ernest Hemingway were known to regularly drink champagne and gin with their literary bros.
- It was named after the feeling of a French 75mm field gun firing inches from your ear (I’m sure the unassuming drinker would agree after downing five of them)
The French 75 is the perfect party cocktail. It’s a celebratory drink that creates the image of restraint and class all while secretly punching you in the face.
My friend Danny is a bartender and gladly came over to help me make this drink properly (and with an artfully crafted lemon peel.) I pass his knowledge on to you after a successful trial run in my kitchen:
- 1 ½ ounces of gin (I prefer Hendricks Gin or Beefeater 24)
- ¾ ounce of fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) of simple syrup (I like to make my own with a bit of citrus or rosemary)
- 2 ounces of chilled champagne
Combine the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for about 20 seconds.
Strain into a champagne flute, champagne saucer or a highball glass depending on how you want to rock it.
Pour the chilled champagne in the glass, top with the lemon peel and remember to keep your hands to yourself.