French 75

Our Glorious 75

Our Glorious 75

One of my favorite standard cocktails to order here in NOLA is a French 75. It’s light and refreshing enough that you can enjoy it in our hot/humid climate, but it still packs a wallop – hence why it’s named after a WWI field gun. I especially enjoy a French 75 made by Chris Hannah who’s at the Arnaud’s bar bearing the same name as the drink.

In doing my research, many people point out that the preparation, and sometimes the base spirit, of the French 75 varies. Although there are some who prepare this cocktail using brandy or cognac, for my purpose here I’m talking gin. Add sugar, lemon juice, and champagne and we’re locked and loaded.

David Wondrich’s recipe found at Esquire’s Drink Database calls for the following:

    2 oz London dry gin
    1 tsp superfine sugar
    1/2 oz lemon juice
    5 oz Brut champagne

Robert Hess, of Drinkboy, has produced a great video demonstrating the French 75. His recipe, which I believe is from The Savoy Cocktail Book (1930) is:

    1 1/2 oz gin
    3/4 oz simple syrup
    1/2 oz lemon juice

For both Wondrich’s and Hess’ versions, you combine the gin, sugar, and lemon juice in a shaker with ice, shake well, and strain into a glass. Wondrich has you use a tall Collins glass half-filled with ice, while Hess uses an empty flute. You then top off either glass with champagne. Check out Hess’ video:
The Cocktail Spirit with Robert Hess – French 75

For a non-traditional French 75, I enjoy a simplified version of the Chameleon – a drink presented by Jamie Boudreau and Eben Freeman at the Tales of the Cocktail 2008. Here St. Germain elderflower liqueur replaces the sugar and lime replaces lemon.

    1 1/2 oz blueberry infused gin
    1/2 oz St-Germain
    1/4 oz lime juice
    3 oz Champagne

    Stir gin, St-Germain, and lime juice over ice and strain into Champagne flute; top with Champagne.

Using all these recipes as a go-by, I’ve developed my own version:

    1 1/2 oz raspberry infused gin (Hendrick’s)
    1/2 oz St-Germain liqueur
    1/2 oz lemon juice
    Brut Champagne or sparkling wine
    Spiral lemon peel, for garnish

    Combine the gin, St-Germain, and lemon juice in a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a Champagne flute. Top with Champagne and garnish with a spiral lemon peel.