French 75: Best Cocktail Recipe & 10 Best Brands
The French 75 is a staple in cocktail bars and a crowd favorite. But what exactly is it? We’ll cover everything you need to know about this popular drink in this post, from ingredients to perfect pairings, plus exciting facts you should know.
The bubbly and refreshing taste of a French 75 makes this cocktail a top choice of drink for those wanting a light beverage that still packs a serious flavor punch.
If you’re wanting to know a little more about this iconic drink, then look no further. Let’s take a deep dive into the facts, history, and recipe of the beloved French 75 cocktail.
Introduction to French 75
French 75 is a cocktail that consists of gin, champagne, sugar syrup, and fresh lemon juice. The balance of sweet and sour flavors that this drink provides makes it uniquely appealing. The tartness of the lemon juice and the sweetness of the sugar syrup make this drink delightfully well-balanced.
This drink has become very popular as a brunch cocktail. This is largely because it is slightly more alcoholic than a Mimosa, while still being light and refreshing. A French 75 cocktail pairs well with several different types of food, due to its simple flavors and refreshing feel.
What French 75 Is
The French 75 cocktail is relatively simple to make and requires only a few ingredients. However, the construction of this drink is where the simplicity stops. French 75 has a rich and complex history, dating all the way back to the 1920’s.
Brief History / Origin
The French 75 cocktail was named after the 75 millimeter field gun that was used by the French during World War One.
It was said that the sharp kick of flavor that you get from the flavors of this drink are reminiscent of a field gun firing. While the recipe for this drink first appeared in a book published in 1927, the question of who exactly created the French 75 is still up for debate.
It is thought that this drink came about due to continued experimentation and mixing of different ingredients.
During the war, bartenders would mix together a range of ingredients that they could get their hands on, and the French 75 may have been a result of this. Whatever the case may be, the cocktail was a hit and continues to be a favorite to this day.
Ingredients of French 75
So, what exactly is a French 75 made up of? Only a few ingredients are required in order to make this iconic drink. Let’s go ahead and take a look at what you will need if you decide to whip up this beverage yourself.
The gin is what gives French 75 its strong kick, not unlike the blast of the 75-millimeter gun after which it was named. This is the alcoholic base of the drink and gives it the sharp, rich taste. A classic dry gin is often recommended when making this drink, but you can pick any gin of your choosing.
Now for the bubbly, refreshing component of the French 75: the champagne. This gives the drinks its fresh flavor and provides those wonderful bubbles.
The champagne is a crucial part of the French 75 as it gives it a fizzy mouth feel and refreshing taste. Any champagne can be used in a French 75, and different brands will provide slightly different flavors.
A simple sugar syrup is what brings a bit of sweetness to the French 75. While you want sharp and intense flavors, you don’t want your drink to be too sour.
This is where the simple syrup comes to the rescue. A dash of sugar syrup is going to alleviate the acidity and bitterness of the French 75. If you’re making this drink at home, you can add more or less of this syrup depending on your personal taste.
Time for another sharp kick, this time through the addition of freshly squeezed lemon juice. The flavor and acidity that the lemon provides cuts through the sweetness of the syrup, leaving the drink balanced. The citrus flavor of the lemon juice adds layers to the drink and gives it a more full-bodied taste.
While adding a lemon slice or wedge as a garnish is not essential, it will elevate the French 75 and give it a classy, polished appearance.
Best Brands for French 75
Now you know what alcohol is required to make a French 75, but what brands are the perfect pick? Let’s go ahead and take a look at the best brands for French 75 when it comes to the gin and the champagne components of this drink.
The gin that is included in a French 75 is going to vastly alter the flavor profile depending on the brand that is selected.
There are many different brands of gin out there that work well in a French 75. These range from Tanqueray London Dry Gin to Hendrick’s Gin, and they all bring a distinct personality to a French 75.
Tanqueray London Dry Gin
Tanqueray London Dry Gin is one of the most common picks when it comes to creating a French 75. This gin is subtle with notes of citrus, and makes a great base for a drink. It does so while ensuring that it won’t overpower the other flavors.
Bombay Sapphire gin has slightly stronger citrus notes, with a significant taste of lemon coming through. There is, however, also a sweetness to this gin that balances out the flavor profile nicely. This nicely mirrors the balance of sweet and citrus that is present in the French 75.
For a gin that is creamy and fresh, Hendrick’s Gin is the way to go. This gin has notes of citrus and vanilla, with a creamy and fresh taste, along with a floral finish. If you want a fuller, richer flavor, then this gin is a great choice for your French 75.
Beefeater London Dry Gin
Beefeater London Dry Gin has an extremely clean and simple flavor profile, with very subtle notes of citrus.
This is another great choice if you’re looking for a gin that is going to make a nice base for your drink without being overpowering. This gin will add a crisp taste to your French 75, while still allowing the other flavors to shine through.
The next aspect of the French 75 to consider is the second alcohol that is used to create this drink: champagne. This fizzy, bubbly addition is what gives the drink that great mouth feel and refreshing taste.
From Veuve Clicquot to Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut, champagne gives French 75 the pop it needs.
Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial
A Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial is going to provide the rich flavors of pear, white peach, and apple. This champagne offers fine, light bubbles that will give your French 75 a great, fizzy feel.
The fruity notes of this champagne will nicely compliment the lemon juice that is present in the drink, giving it a nice balance of tart and sweet.
Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut
If you want to lean into the traditional lemony flavor of a French 75, then a Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut is a great choice.
This champagne has notes of lemon and vanilla that will pair wonderfully with the lemon and simple syrup of your drink.
Taittinger La Française Brut
Taittinger La Française Brut has simple, crisp, and clean flavors that work well as a base for your French 75. The subtle flavor of apple and lemon pairs well with the rest of the ingredients in this drink.
This champagne is bubbly and refreshing and will elevate your French 75, giving it a light taste and fizzy feel.
Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut
Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut is a complex champagne with flavors of ripe fruits. This is a great addition to your French 75 if you want a rich, full-bodied drink.
The fruity notes in this champagne blend well with the sugar syrup and also contrast nicely with the acidity that comes from the lemon juice.
Louis Roederer Brut Premier
Louis Roederer Brut Premier has strong, rich flavors. These make a great base for your French 75. The notes of lemon and lime zest pair perfectly with the other ingredients.
Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut
Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut is light and crisp, while still providing a rich and complex taste. This champagne is fresh and delicate without compromising on taste. Its strong flavors of fruit and vanilla stand out and make the corresponding French 75 shine.
Recipe – How to Make a French 75
Want to try your hand at making a French 75 at home? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Let’s check out a step-by-step guide to creating the perfect French 75.
Step One: Mix the First Ingredients
Add 1 ounce of gin, ½ ounce of lemon juice, and ½ ounce of simple syrup into a shaker with ice. You can add more or less depending on how big of a batch you want to make, but it is important to keep the proportions of the ingredients the same.
This means if you increase how much gin you are adding, you should also increase the rest of the ingredients to match.
The exception to this is if you are altering the amount of syrup to adjust the sweetness levels, raising or lowering the alcohol content, or making similar changes to these.
Step Two: Shake Until Chilled
Shake until thoroughly mixed and chilled. This should only take around one to two minutes. Be sure to include a decent amount of ice in your shaker, to ensure that your drink chills to an appropriate temperature.
Step Three: Use A Tall and Slim Glass
Strain the mixture into a champagne flute or tall, slim glass. Refrain from filling your glass all the way to the top, as you still need to add your champagne.
Top the drink with 3 ounces of your champagne of choice. You can now fill your glass to the top.
Step Four (Optional)
Garnish the drink with a lemon wedge or slice. This step is optional, and is primarily for visual purposes. It’s as simple as that – you now have the perfect French 75.
Time & Occasions for Drinking a French 75
You can drink a French 75 for almost every occasion, but these cocktails are most popular when out at brunch or at a cocktail bar.
The lightness of the drink means that it will not spoil your appetite when enjoying your brunch or bar snacks. The flavors of a French 75 are also subtle and pair well with many different types of food, making it a great choice of cocktail when you are out to eat.
The simple, light and acidic taste of a French 75 means that this drink pairs well with most foods. Common pairings for this cocktail often include classic bar snacks such as salted nuts, cheeses, and olives.
If French 75 is your choice of drink for brunch, the sharp lemon flavor pairs perfectly with many common brunch dishes, such as eggs benedict.
Best Glass to Serve a French 75
Since the French 75 is a bubbly drink, it is best to serve this in a champagne flute or similar tall, slender glass.
This will help with appropriate aeration and allows the bubbles to last longer in your drink. This type of glass will also ensure your French 75 remains the ideal temperature for optimal taste.
Variations of French 75
There are a few different variations of the French 75 that you can create by changing some of the ingredients.
These can include the likes of elderflower liqueur for a sweeter tone, or cognac for a heavier beverage. Let’s go ahead and take a look at some of the most popular versions of this drink:
- French 76: The French 76 is created by substituting the gin in a French 75 with vodka. A plain vodka is the most common in this cocktail, but you can switch it up by using a flavored vodka.
- French 77: A French 77 switches the gin out for an elderflower liqueur. This gives the drink a more floral, sweet taste.
- French 95: The French 95 is a cocktail with bourbon as the base liquor. This makes for a drink with a rich and robust flavor.
- French 125: Another variation of this drink is the French 125, which substitutes the gin for cognac. This makes the drink a bit heavier, while still maintaining the freshness that is key in a French 75.
- French 45: A French .45 is a variation that swaps the gin out for brandy. This adds a touch of extra sweetness and a fruity flavor to the drink.
Similar Cocktails You Will Enjoy
If you are a fan of the classic French 75 cocktail, chances are you will enjoy drinks that share similar ingredients or flavor profiles.
Let’s go ahead and take a look at some cocktails that French 75 fans are likely to enjoy. These range from the popular Tom Collins to the unmistakably cheerful Mimosa.
A typical Gin Fizz will contain gin, citrus, sugar, and sparkling water. This is a light and refreshing drink that is similar to a French 75 in many ways. A Gin Fizz will often contain an egg white, shaken into the drink to give it a thick, creamy texture.
The Tom Collins cocktail is a classic drink that combines gin, lemon juice, sugar, and sparkling water. This beverage is very similar to a French 75, simply using sparkling water rather than champagne. For this reason, fans of the French 75 cocktail are very likely to enjoy a Tom Collins.
A classic Bellini is a crowd favorite that consists of Prosecco and peach purée or nectar. This sweet, summery drink has strong fruity flavors and is a great alternative to a French 75 if you’re looking for something a bit sweeter, with notes of peach rather than lemon.
A Mimosa is another extremely common drink, which is made by combining champagne and chilled citrus juice. Mimosas are most commonly made using orange juice, but any kind of citrus juice will do the trick.
If you enjoy the combination of champagne and citrus that is present in a French 75, you may enjoy a Mimosa.
A Kir Royale is another French cocktail that those who enjoy a French 75 may want to try out. This cocktail combines crème de cassis with champagne for a simple and fresh taste. While not overly sweet, its sparkling nature ensures its place as a very refreshing drink.
An Aperol Spritz is a bubbly, Italian cocktail that is made with prosecco, digestive bitters, and sparkling water. This bright orange drink is fizzy, fruity, and refreshing. It is sure to be a hit with French 75 fans due to the similar flavors and mouth feel.
A Negroni Sbagliato is a spin on a classic Negroni that swaps out the gin for wine. This drink consists of Campari and sweet vermouth, along with sparkling wine. This gives the drink a bit of fizz that lifts the flavors and makes the drink playful and refreshing.
A Moscow Mule is another iconic, crowd-favorite cocktail that is made by combining vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. This light and bubbly drink has contrastingly strong flavors of citrus and ginger. The combination of flavors and texture makes it the perfect summer drink.
French 75 fans may find that they thoroughly enjoy the taste of a classic Mojito. This traditional Cuban punch combines white rum, sugar, lime juice, soda water, and mint. The sweet and fruity flavors of this beverage make it a popular choice of drink.
The Pimm’s Cup is a popular drink in England, that combines Pimm’s No. 1 Cup, lemonade, lemon or lime juice, as well as various chopped garnishes.
Various fruits, such as apples and oranges, are often used as garnish for this drink. The sweet, fruity flavors of this iced drink make it a great choice for warmer weather.