French 75 (Champagne Martini)
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A French 75 is a classic cocktail that tastes kind of like a champagne martini. With just a few ingredients, this drink is almost better than just having a glass of bubbly!
If you’re looking for a sophisticated cocktail recipe, this is it!
What is a French 75 Cocktail?
Have you ever heard of a French 75? I think it’s a cocktail that originated in the 30s because it’s so fabulous and just makes me think of flappers and prohibition.
Fast-forward to today and I’d never heard of this cocktail until just a few years ago when I was traveling. We’d gone for dinner at a chic and hip restaurant, you know the type: dark wood and chandeliers with a hipster new-age millennial foodie vibe. I was pleasantly surprised by how good a French 75 was; it reminded me of drinking a champagne martini.
A French 75 cocktail is a drink made from (traditionally) gin, champagne, lemon, and sugar. I put my own little twist on this French 75 recipe and used vodka instead; vodka is always my preference over gin. I mean, I’ll drink a gin martini, but I prefer an ice cold vodka martini (extra dirty).
Now, if you want to be a purist, you can make this with gin, but I think that, unless you’re a gin drinker, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how good this tastes (and how easy it goes down) with vodka.
French 75 Cocktails are my new favorite martini: they have champagne in them!
I’d completely forgotten about this cocktail until a few weeks ago, when Mel and I went to San Francisco for the night. We were lucky enough to be hosted by The Scarlet Huntington, a premier boutique hotel on Nob Hill. We love the Nob Hill Spa at the Huntington and have done treatments there several times, but I wanted to surprise Mel so I booked us a room at the hotel as well as a couples massage.
Nob Hill in San Francisco is very “old money” chic; lots of great architecture and bars that serve cocktails like this French 75. I had one (…maybe two) of this cocktails that evening and immediately knew I would remake it for the blog.
(In fact, I ordered the glasses off of amazon the second I got home. I mean, you can serve a French 75 in a flute or a martini glass but these goblets are perfection, don’t you think?)
If you’re interested, you can check out all of our San Francisco adventure (including dinner at my favorite restaurant) on Instagram.
Back to this French 75 cocktail. It’s all I can do not to go make myself another one right now!
Again, I made my French 75 with vodka, because I prefer it. Besides vodka, here are the key components in a French 75 cocktail:
- Fresh lemon juice
- Simple syrup or sugar; in the old days they’d use superfine sugar and add it to the martini shaker. Now, if you have simple syrup, you can use that instead. I keep it in my refrigerator, but you can also buy it at the liquor store.
- Champagne or prosecco
- Cherry, for garnish (that’s how they served it at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco!)
I also love rimming the glass with sugar. It’s simple: just rub a lemon slice around the glass then dip in sugar and the sugar will stick. It adds a nice sweetness to each sip of the cocktail. Cheers!
A French 75 is a champagne martini, made with vodka or gin, lemon, and champagne! It's a classic cocktail recipe that is delicious!
- 1 ounce vodka or gin
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon simple syrup (or to taste)
- 2 ounces champagne
- Sugar, for the rim of the glass
- 1 Maraschino cherry, for garnish
Run a slice of lemon around the rim of a martini or champagne glass. Place sugar in a shallow bowl and turn the glass upside down to coat the rim.
Add vodka (or gin), lemon juice, and simple syrup to a shaker with ice. Cover and shake.
Pour vodka mixture into martini glass. Top off with champagne or prosecco. Garnish with a cherry.
Champagne Punch Bellini is another fun way to drink champagne!
Apple Cider Bellini is perfect for fall!
Lemon Drop Fizz is a cocktail form of a lemon drop martini!
**Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!**