Long Island Iced Tea, Jungle Juice, the Sazerac—these are just a few cocktails that were specifically designed to hit consumers with a powerful punch.

They combine different spirits in a clash of flavors that surprisingly complement each other. But of all the drinks created for their potency, none are quite as elegant as the French 75. Named after the powerful French 75mm field gun, this cocktail has quite the kick.

The most common version of the French 75 is composed of gin, champagne, lemon juice and sugar. It’s the perfect drink if you want to take brunch to the next level because the lemon and champagne create a crisp start, while the gin finishes with a floral note. Some people substitute cognac or rum for gin, which warm up the flavor considerably. Whichever spirit you choose, the sugar will soften the bite, making this cocktail dangerously easy to drink. But the recipe you commonly see now is a bit different from where it began.

Although the history of the drink is murky, some say the French 75 was created in 1915 during WWI at the New York Bar in Paris. The infamous barman, Harry MacElhone, created the cocktail and then published it in his book, Harry’s ABC’s of Mixing Cocktails, in 1922. It was named “The 75” and consisted of Calvados, gin, grenadine and absinthe. The same year, bartender Robert Vermeire published his own book, Cocktails. How to Mix Them, with his “75” recipe. Although he credits MacElhone in his book for the drink, Vermeire decided to incorporate lemon into the mix. While MacElhone was the first to create the “75,” it got the name “French 75” and the current recipe from a third author, Judge Jr. Judge wrote Here’s How in 1927 with a slightly different variation of ingredients that has since become the industry standard. The French 75 may have passed through many hands before it settled in its current form, but its powerful punch still remains the same.


French 75 cocktails, with lemon garnish, tray and lemons

French 75

French 75

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. London Dry Gin
  • .5 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • .5 oz. Simple Syrup
  • Champagne or Dry Sparkling Wine (to Top)
  • Lemon Twist (to Garnish)

Preparation: Add the first three ingredients to a shaker tin with ice. Shake and strain into a champagne flute. Top with chilled champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.