Serve this classic cocktail to kick off your next dinner party. The French 75 is easy to make and a perfect pre-dinner drink.
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ORIGINS OF THIS CLASSIC COCKTAIL
Have you ever had a French 75? It’s said to date all the way back to World War I and was served at Harry’s American Bar in Paris in the 1900s. In its most common iteration – a combination of gin, champagne or sparkling wine, lemon, and sugar – its potency has been compared to that of a French 75mm field pistol; hence, its name. As we know, recipes evolve over years and generations, so there are some conflicting opinions on this story and even the ingredients. Some French 75 recipes call for cognac instead of gin. Whatever the history – it’s a delicious drink and very easy to make.
TIPS FOR MAKING THE DRINK
In this instance, I stuck with gin as that’s what I had on hand and tend to prefer. Last summer, I tried Greenhook Ginsmiths Dry Gin – it’s local (to me) as it’s distilled in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. You can use whichever brand you prefer.
Further, I chose to use a dry prosecco rather than champagne. I’m of the opinion that pricier champagne should be enjoyed on its own. With mixed drinks, you can get away with using a sparkling wine. Some may disagree, but that’s the principle I follow.
Additionally, as I said, the drink is very easy to prepare and ironically, the trickiest part (to me) is making the simple syrup. Initially, I used a traditional simple syrup recipe which calls for boiling water and sugar until the sugar is dissolved and infusing the flavor (in this case, lemon) as it chills. So far, every time I’ve made simple syrup this way, something has always gone awry. When following this method, the syrup also seems to cool in a solid rather than syrup form. Leave me a comment if you have good simple syrup making tips! Anyway… for this particular cocktail – there is a much easier way to make the syrup with superfine sugar which is detailed in the recipe below.
Lastly, when making this cocktail, chill the cocktail shaker and the glasses for the best tasting drink. I think the French 75 is both refreshing and somewhat boozy. The herbal flavors in the gin compliment the lemon and the dry prosecco or champagne. I think it’s a great cocktail to serve pre-dinner at your next party.
- 1 lemon juiced
- 2 tbsp superfine sugar
- 1 ounce gin
- 2 ounces dry prosecco
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
Juice the lemon.
In a bowl, whisk together the juice with the superfine sugar until it's dissolved. It's important to use superfine sugar as regular granulated sugar will not dissolve properly to create the syrup. Bob's Red Mill has a fine crystal sugar. Additionally, superfine sugar goes by the name of caster sugar. This can be difficult to find in grocery stores, but Amazon will have it. This lemon syrup mixture will be enough for about 4 cocktails.
Fill a chilled cocktail shaker with ice. Add 1 ounce gin and 1/2 ounce of the lemon simple syrup.
Shake well and strain into your cocktail glass of choice. I would go with a champagne coupe or flute. Given I was styling a Valentine's shoot, I used Sugar & Cloth's blush pink coupe glasses.
Top with the prosecco.
Do you have a favorite classic cocktail?