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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! It’s pretty, class, a little sweet and a lot delicious.

stemless champagne glass with sugared rim and drink inside and twist of lemon


What is a French 75 Cocktail?

This classic cocktail originated in the early 1900s when a bartender in London made a Tom Collins but swapped champagne for the club soda. 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, brut champagne, lemon, and sugar. You can even put your own twist on it and use vodka – or lots of other variations (see below for ideas!) It’s the perfect cocktail for a party, a celebration, or New Year’s Eve!

ingredients in a french 75

4 Ingredients Needed

  • 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, or honey.
  • Champagne is tradtional but I make my French 75 with prosecco
  • Gin – This is the traditional liquor used but I love substituting vodka. Use top shelf, like Hendricks Gin or Titos Vodka.

What glass is used for a French 75?

You can use either a champagne flute (with or without a stem) or a coupe glass. I love using the coupe glass because I think they’re more elegant, but champagne flutes are more readily accessible.

Non-Alcoholic French 75

It’s easy to make non alcoholic Fresh 75s mocktails for those that don’t drink alcohol. Simply omit the hard liquor and use club soda or lemon lime soda or tonic for the champagne. You can even still pour it in a champagne glass!

pouring champagne into coupe glass with sugared rim

French 75 Variations

  • Use vodka instead of gin, which is called a French 76
  • A French 45 uses brandy in place of the gin and a French 95 uses whiskey
  • Use Prosecco or Sparkling Wine
  • Change out the gin for really any spirit you like!
  • Serve it on the rocks
  • Change up your sweetener to use flavored syrups or add some bitters for a negroni-like cocktail.
  • Make a floral tasting French 75 with St. Germain in addition to the other ingredients.

How to make a French 75

  • I 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. This is an optional step.
  • Add gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice to a shaker filled with ice. Shake and then strain into glass.
  • Top with a few ounces champagne or sparkling wine. Garnish with a lemon twist and be sure to cheers.
stemless champagne glass with sugared rim and drink inside and twist of lemon

Tip From Dorothy

Expert Tips

  • You an use up to an ounce of simple syrup but I recommend starting with just 1/4 teaspoon and adding more as needed, unless you like very sweet drinks. You can also omit the sugar completely for a less sweet drink.
  • To make your own simple syrup – boil equal parts granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Store in a jar in the fridge for whenever you make cocktails.
  • The only required garnish is some lemon peel or a lemon twist, but I also love adding a maraschino cherry and sugar rim.
  • A cocktail shaker is a must – you want that lemon juice, gin and simple syrup COLD when you add the bubbles.
  • It’s such a beautiful drink it’s perfect for any occasion, holiday, New Year’s Eve or just because you love champagne!

FAQs

What does a French 75 taste like?

This classic drink tastes like sweet lemon champagne – almost like a lemon drop but bubbly.

Is French 75 sweet?

It lends on the sweeter side because champagne is sweeter than most liquors, but the addition of the simple syrup makes this a sweet drink. You can add less simple syrup for a less sweet drink.

French 75 Cocktail

French 75

4 from 13 votes
A French 75 is a champagne martini, made with vodka or gin, lemon, and champagne! It’s a classic cocktail recipe that is delicious!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Yield 1 cocktail
Serving Size 1 cocktail

Ingredients
 

  • 1 ounce gin
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon simple syrup (or to taste)
  • 2 ounces champagne
  • Sugar, for the rim of the glass optional
  • 1 Maraschino cherry and/or lemon twist, for garnish

Instructions

  • 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 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.

Recipe Notes

  • Swap vodka for the gin, or brandy, whiskey, cognac or any spirit you want.
  • You an use up to an ounce of simple syrup but I recommend starting with just 1/4 teaspoon and adding more as needed, unless you like very sweet drinks. You can also omit the sugar completely for a less sweet drink.
  • The only required garnish is some lemon peel or a lemon twist, but I also love adding a maraschino cherry and sugar rim.
  • A cocktail shaker is a must – you want that lemon juice, gin and simple syrup COLD when you add the bubbles.
  • It’s such a beautiful drink it’s perfect for any occasion, holiday, New Year’s Eve or just because you love champagne!

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1cocktail | Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Sodium: 5mg | Potassium: 49mg | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin C: 5.5mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Drinks
Cuisine American

Champagne Cocktails

Last Updated on December 28, 2023



Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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4 Comments

  1. This is misleading on so many levels, starting with using the word ‘martini’ in the description – no vermouth going on here, and I’m pretty sure a classic martini – not the crazy multiflavored drinks that happen to be served in a martini glass – doesn’t include simple syrup or lemon juice; giving it a sugar rim; adding a cherry to garnish? By the time you’ve finished with all the girly frou-frou additions, its no longer a French 75. Go to a classic bar, order a French 75, and all of the ‘extras’ won’t be in your drink or on the rim unless you’ve asked otherwise, with the bartender silently mocking you for doing so in the first place. And, it will be made with cognac, not gin or vodka. There’s a bar in New Orleans named The French 75 Bar, with the beverage as their signature, of course – made with cognac as it should be.

    1. I’ve ordered a French 75 and gotten this exact thing. So possibly while traditions might be one thing, not all are created equal.

  2. Your recipe is delicious. You should also know ,the original French 75 is made with cognac. It is named for a weapon used in WW1. as a field gun in France. The two ingredients available were cognac and champagne. The drink gained early recognition when it was ordered in a bar scene in Rick’s cafe in the movie, Casablanca.

  3. The French 75 was invented during World War I; the story goes that its creator was a member of the Lafayette Escadrille, American flyers who flew for the French even before the U.S. got into the war. It’s named after a French 75mm artillery piece (allegedly in honor of the effect a couple of the drinks can have).
    The writer and radio raconteur Jean Shepherd had a version which he said was the original. It’s simply champagne and cognac. It’s a disputed claim, but you can find his narrative about it from his WOR radio show online ( on YouTube, I think). Some of Shepherd’s stories were combined into the movie “A Christmas Story”, which he narrated (he also had a one-line cameo in it, as a man on the line with his kid to see Santa).