The classic French 75. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

The classic French 75. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

It’s a celebratory week here in the Ruhlman household. Two significant graduations and the 18th birthday of my daughter. So bubbly is on hand, and it led me to this thoroughly refreshing and restorative cocktail, the French 75, which I was first introduced to at the Velvet Tango Room. The concoction was apparently named after a French field gun, owing to its kick, at Harry’s Bar in Paris, and I love its French name best, Soixante Quinze.

It couldn’t be simpler: a gin sour (lemon juice and simple syrup), topped with dry sparkling wine, finished with a twist.

Best wishes to all on this first Friday of June, but especially to the parents out there with kids who are graduating.

The French 75

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • Bubbly as needed
  • Lemon twist
  1. Combine gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Swirl till thoroughly chilled.
  2. Strain into a chilled champagne flute.
  3. Top with sparkling wine.
  4. Garnish with a twist.
french 75b

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© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.


23 Wonderful responses to “Friday Cocktail Hour: The French 75”

  • Michael Villar

    Made this for new year’s instead of the usual sparkling. Great stuff. I’ll definitely have one this afternoon. Salud!

  • Carole

    It’s hard to get a French 75 in my neck of the woods. Nobody wants to open a bottle of champagne for one or 2 drinks.

  • Al W

    We serve this in a collins over ice. Makes for a very refreshing drink out on the deck.

  • Elsewhere

    In his highly opinionated “The Fine Art of Making Drinks” (1948) David Embury claims that the French 75 is cognac based, not gin; and I sincerely believe that a French 75 made with decent cognac (or good brandy) is tastier than one made with gin. The herbs and floral notes of a good gin, IMHO, do battle with the champagne and I always find the resulting drink too acidic. Cognac, champagne, and simple syrup, on the other hand blend together and no single ingredient takes precedence.

    1 ounce Cognac
    1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
    1/2 ounce simple syrup
    2 ounces Champagne

    1. Fill shaker filled with ice, Cognac, lemon juice and syrup and shake away.

    2. Strain into chilled flute or cocktail coupe. Top with Champagne. Garnish with lemon twist.

    Particularly nice and retro when served in a coupe, but a flute does just fine! Happy cocktailing to all!

  • Allen

    I thinned my cocktails with Spanish cava bubbly on cinco de Mayo so I could remember the occasion, a Rick Bayless recipe.

    I’m becoming a fan of this, when I need to stay on my best behavior, Chambord is good, garnish with a few berries.

    Special occasions need to be remembered.

    Congratulations and best wishes graduates!

    Cheers, happy memorable Friday all!

  • Karin

    Finally got to the VTR last Friday on a visit home. Sorry that I don’t like gin since this one really did appeal to me. So many other choices and specials (Mint Champagne cocktail, yum) to satisfy any urge. And they did!

  • Victoria

    Dear MR,

    Congratulations! What a lot to celebrate.

    Gin is my go-to spirit, and Champagne is my absolute fav so I will be trying this soon, if not immediately.

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  • allen

    Sumptin ’bout sumptin wid da sumptinsumptin.
    Limoncello in da house! Yeaaaahhh boooyyyy!

  • Erin

    Love the French 75 @ Velvet Tango Room. I order it with their alternate preparation using brandy.

  • Elizabeth

    Yay for a Detroit shout out! Counting down until Two James and Detroit City Distillery are officially open for business.

  • Adam Paul

    Thanks so much for this recipe – wife & I made it tonight and loved it. Seems it’d be a great brunch drink too.

    • Bricktop

      We agree totally – an excellent precursor to a lazy summer afternoon.

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  • Janet

    I’ve been making and drinking French 75’s for years. But the variation I was taught doesn’t require having lemons on hand. Replace the lemon and simple syrup with “a generous splash of Cointreau,” according to my uncle. Sublime.
    Oh, and did you know that this drink plays a role in Casablanca? Watch for it, next time you see the movie.

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