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Friday, July 19, 2024
Est. 1870

French 75

The French 75 combines the sophistication of champagne with the vigour of gin and the zest of fresh lemon, to create a classic cocktail with a fascinating history to match its modern, refined taste.  

Conceived amidst the tumult of World War I, the French 75 was the creation of American soldiers stationed in France who sought to invigorate champagne. They concocted a blend of gin, lemon juice and sugar, christening it after the formidable French 75mm field gun, renowned for its precision and power - it "hit the spot" and "packed a punch".

The cocktail crossed the Atlantic to make its debut to the American public through Harry MacElhone, proprietor of the famed Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, a renowned haunt for celebrities and writers. MacElhone immortalised the recipe in his 1926 publication, Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails, attributing it to his friend and fellow bartender, Harry Craddock of the Savoy Hotel in London. From there, the French 75 swiftly became a Prohibition-era staple, with honourable mentions across films and literature including Casablanca and The Sun Also Rises.

The French 75 is a study in contrasts - light but potent, refreshing yet complex. The champagne lends sparkle and sophistication, the gin imparts depth and warmth, while the lemon juice counterbalances the sugar’s mellow sweetness. Crafting a French 75 may be straightforward, but its impact is unforgettable.

To mix a French 75, you will need: 

  • 30 mL of Smeaton’s gin
  • 15 mL of fresh lemon juice
  • 15 mL of simple sugar syrup
  • 60 mL of champagne

As for the process:

  • Combine the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  • Shake vigorously and strain the mixture into a champagne flute.
  • Top up with champagne and stir gently.
  • For an optional flourish, garnish with a lemon twist.


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