French 75: Easy 4-Ingredient Classic Cocktail [The Ultimate Recipe]

What is a French 75?

The French 75 is a classic cocktail combining gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and Champagne. Traditionally shaken and served in a champagne flute without ice, it is known for its crisp and refreshing taste with a fizzy texture. The cocktail’s clear, effervescent appearance is accented with a lemon twist garnish, offering a sophisticated visual appeal. Originating from World War I-era France, it is named after French 75mm field gun, and since then the cocktail has gained widespread popularity and earned its place on the list of classic cocktails.

Why is it called a French 75?

The French 75 cocktail, named after the French 75mm field gun used during World War I, is renowned for its potent kick akin to the artillery piece. Its creation is credited to Harry MacElhone at the New York Bar in Paris, circa 1915. The cocktail gained fame for its elegant blend of gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and Champagne, symbolizing the fusion of French sophistication with a powerful impact.

The French army’s 75-millimeter light field gun used during World War I was known for its power and efficiency. The cocktail was initially named “Soixante-Quinze” or Seventy-Five, mirroring the gun’s reputation for strength and precision.

The name reflects its historical roots and the memorable experience it delivers, much like the artillery it’s named after, making it a staple in the world of classic cocktails.

Ingredients of French 75 Cocktail

The French 75 cocktail, a timeless classic, combines gin, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and sparkling wine, often Champagne, to create a refreshing drink. Typically, the recipe calls for 1 oz (30 ml) gin, 0.5 oz (15 ml) lemon juice, 0.5 oz (15 ml) simple syrup, and 2-3 oz (60-90 ml) sparkling wine. Remember, these measurements are just suggestions and can be adjusted according to personal taste preferences.

  1. Gin: 1 oz (30 ml)
  2. Lemon Juice (fresh): 1/2 oz (15 ml)
  3. Simple Syrup: 1/2 oz (15 ml)
  4. Sparkling Wine (preferably Champagne): 2-3 oz (60-90 ml)
  • Ice cubes for shaking
  • Lemon zest twist for garnish (optional)

Ingredient Substitutes for French 75

To tailor the French 75 to various tastes and ingredient availability, consider these alternatives:

For gin, vodka or white rum can be a great substitute. If you’re out of lemons, lime juice works well too. In place of simple syrup, honey or agave syrup can add a unique sweetness. Lastly, if Champagne is not available, any good quality sparkling wine or even soda water can step in to complete this delightful cocktail.

  • Gin: Substitute with vodka or white rum
  • Lemon Juice: Replace with lime juice
  • Simple Syrup: Use agave nectar or honey
  • Champagne: Swap with sparkling wine or soda water

Ingredient Proportions for French 75 Cocktail

The French 75 cocktail ingredients strike a good balance with the recommended ratio of 2 parts sparkling wine, 1 part gin, 1/2 part lemon juice, and 1/2 part simple syrup. This creates a well-balanced drink, but feel free to tweak the proportions to your liking. Whether you prefer a stronger gin presence or a sweeter touch, the flexibility of this recipe allows you to adjust it to suit your palate.

  • Suggested ratio: 2 parts sparkling wine, 1 part gin, ½ part lemon juice, ½ part simple syrup
  • Adjustable: Tweak proportions to suit individual taste preferences

Best Ingredients for French 75 Cocktail

For the best French 75 experience, use quality ingredients. Choose a smooth, well-balanced gin that complements the cocktail without overpowering it. Freshly squeezed lemon juice is key for a bright, zesty flavor. Opt for a home-made or high-quality simple syrup for a refined sweetness. The sparkling wine should be crisp and dry, ideally a good Champagne, to add the right effervescence and elegance to the drink.

While specific brands aren’t necessary, choosing each ingredient for its quality and flavor profile will elevate the cocktail experience.

  • Gin: Smooth, well-balanced
  • Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed for brightness
  • Simple syrup: Home-made/High-quality simple syrup
  • Sparkling wine: Dry, crisp – ideally Champagne
  • Focus: Quality of each ingredient

Flavor Profile of French 75 Cocktail

The French 75 offers a refreshing and elegant flavor profile, characterized by a bright citrus tang from the lemon juice, the subtle botanical complexity of the gin, and a gentle sweetness from the simple syrup, balancing the tartness of the lemon. The sparkling wine adds a bubbly, crisp finish, resulting in a drink both smooth and invigorating. This cocktail strikes a perfect balance between sweetness, acidity, and the subtle kick of effervescent alcohol.

  • Flavor profile: Refreshing, elegant and balanced sweetness, acidity, and alcohol kick
    • Gin: Botanical complexity
    • Lemon juice: Refreshing, tangy, citrusy brightness
    • Simple syrup: Gentle sweetness
    • Sparkling wine: Effervescent, crisp character

Tools & Equipment for Making French 75

To craft a French 75 cocktail, a few essential tools are needed. A cocktail shaker is vital for combining the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup effectively. A jigger or measuring tool is recommended for accurate ingredient proportions. A strainer ensures a smooth pour into the glass. Finally, a champagne flute or a similar tall glass is ideal for serving, showcasing the cocktail’s elegance and allowing the bubbles to rise beautifully.

  1. Cocktail shaker for mixing
  2. Jigger or measuring tool for accuracy
  3. Strainer for smooth pouring
  4. Champagne flute or tall glass for serving

Instructions for Preparation of French 75

Creating a French 75 is straightforward. Start by adding gin, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously until well-chilled. Strain the mixture into a champagne flute or tall glass. Top it off with sparkling wine, gently stirring to combine. Garnish with a lemon twist for an extra touch of aroma.

  • Step 1: Combine gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a shaker with ice
  • Step 2: Shake well until chilled
  • Step 3: Strain into a champagne flute
  • Step 4: Top with sparkling wine and gently stir
  • Step 5: Garnish with a lemon twist or cherry

Stir or Shake: French 75 Cocktail

When making a French 75, shaking is the preferred method. This technique combines gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup with ice, effectively chilling and slightly diluting the ingredients for a smooth texture. Shaking also helps to integrate the flavors thoroughly, providing a harmonious balance in each sip.

Stirring, typically reserved for purely spirit-based cocktails, isn’t recommended here as it doesn’t provide the same level of chill and integration for the citrus and syrup components.

  • Preferred Method: Use shaking method for better integration and chill
  • Why?: Shaking combines ingredients smoothly

Ice, Chilling & Dilution in French 75

For preparing a French 75, use ice cubes in the shaker to chill the mixture effectively. The shaking process with ice not only cools the drink but also adds a slight dilution, which is essential for balancing the cocktail’s strength. When serving, the French 75 is typically served without ice to preserve the carbonation of the sparkling wine. However, pre-chilling the glass before serving can enhance the drinking experience, keeping the cocktail cold and refreshing without the need for ice in the glass.

  • Preparation: Ice cubes in shaker for chilling and slight dilution
  • Serving:
    • Serve without ice to preserve sparkling wine’s effervescence
    • Pre-chill serving glass for optimal coldness

Troubleshooting Common French 75 Mistakes

Understanding common pitfalls can help you craft the perfect French 75 that is always refreshingly balanced and effervescent.

One frequent issue is over-dilution from excessive shaking. The key is a brisk, yet brief shake, just enough to chill and mix the ingredients without overly diluting them.

Balancing flavors is crucial. Ensure accurate measurements of ingredients using a jigger or another measuring tool. For a harmonious flavor profile, start with the recommended ratios and then adjust to taste.

Always opt for freshly squeezed lemon juice for the natural zesty flavor. In order to maximize the cocktail’s signature fizz, the sparkling wine should also be freshly opened – and never, ever shaken. Avoid pre-opening the wine or using a stale bottle. Top off the glass with the bubbly as the very last step, just before serving.

  • Over-dilution: Shake the cocktail with ice briskly but briefly.
  • Unbalanced Flavors: Follow recommended ratios, tweak to taste and measure with a jigger.
  • Unnatural Lemon Taste: Always use freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Flat Sparkling Wine: Use freshly opened bottle, never shake, pour just before serving.

Presentation of French 75

The choice of glassware and garnish in a cocktail like the French 75 plays a key role in accentuating the drink’s character and enhancing the sensory experience of each sip.

Glassware for French 75

Traditionally, a French 75 is elegantly presented in a tall, slender champagne flute, which highlights the cocktail’s effervescence and sophistication. As an alternative, a coupe glass can be used, offering a vintage charm and allowing the aromas to gather and intensify, providing a different olfactory experience.

  • Classic: Champagne flute for elegance and effervescence
  • Alternative: Coupe glass for vintage charm and aroma concentration

Garnish for French 75

A classic garnish for the French 75 is a thin lemon twist, adding a zesty aroma and a touch of citrus elegance. As a creative option, consider adding a cherry or a sprig of fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary, which not only add visual appeal but also introduce a subtle aromatic complexity to the cocktail.

  • Classic: Lemon twist for zesty aroma
  • Creative: Cherry or fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary) for aromatic complexity and visual appeal

These garnishing choices beautifully complement the French 75, elevating its presentation and flavor profile.

Variations & Riffs on French 75

The flavor profile of the French 75 is similar to a variety of other famous cocktails, each offering a unique take. Here are several popular options:

  1. Mimosa: Swapping gin for orange juice, this brunch favorite combines sparkling wine and citrus in a refreshing way.
  2. Negroni Sbagliato: Replaces gin with Campari and sweet vermouth, adding a bitter complexity to the sparkling wine base.
  3. Kir Royale: Utilizes crème de cassis instead of gin and lemon, offering a sweeter, berry-flavored variant.
  4. Bellini: Peach purée replaces the gin and lemon, creating a sweet and fruity alternative.
  5. Aperol Spritz: Aperol and soda water provide a bittersweet twist, lightened with sparkling wine.
  6. Gin Fizz: Similar in ingredients to the French 75, but topped with soda water instead of sparkling wine for a lighter finish.
  7. Tom Collins: Gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, topped with club soda; a taller, non-sparkling cousin of the French 75.
  8. Champagne Cocktail: A sugar cube soaked in bitters, topped with Champagne, for a simpler yet elegant drink.
  9. Hemingway Champagne: Adds maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice to the mix, for a more complex, literary-inspired variant.
  10. Elderflower French 75: Incorporates elderflower liqueur for a floral twist on the classic recipe.

Each of these cocktails takes inspiration from the French 75, modifying ingredients to cater to different tastes and occasions, yet maintaining a sense of sophistication and delight.

Experiment: Creating Your Own French 75 Riff

Creating your unique version of the French 75 is an adventure in the art of cocktail making. Here’s a guide to experimenting with both classic and creative ingredient variations:

1. Base Spirit: Start by experimenting with the base. Instead of gin, try brandy, whiskey, or tequila for a deeper flavor profile. Vodka offers a more neutral option. For an aromatic touch, flavored or infused gin or vodka can add a new dimension.

2. Citrus Component: Lemon juice is the classic choice, but why not try lime, grapefruit, or even orange juice? Each citrus brings its unique acidity and sweetness.

3. Sweetener: Simple syrup is standard, but exploring other sweeteners like honey syrup, maple syrup, or flavored/infused syrups (like vanilla or lavender) can add an intriguing twist.

4. Sparkling Element: While Champagne is traditional, experimenting with different sparkling wines, prosecco, or even a flavored sparkling water can alter the drink’s effervescence and overall character.

5. Garnish: This is where you can get truly creative. Beyond the classic lemon twist, consider edible flowers, herb sprigs (like basil or mint), or even a splash of bitters on top for added complexity.

6. Proportions: Play with the proportions of each ingredient. Maybe a bit more sweetness or a stronger citrus punch is what your personalized version needs.

Creating your own riff on the French 75 is about expressing your personal taste and enjoying the process of discovery. Cheers to the creation of a unique French 75 variant that’s all your own!

Serving Occasions for French 75

The French 75, with its elegant and refreshing profile, is versatile for various occasions. It’s a popular choice for celebratory events like weddings or anniversaries, adding a touch of sophistication. Its light and bubbly nature makes it perfect for brunch gatherings or as a welcome drink at parties. The cocktail’s classic charm also suits more intimate settings like romantic dinners or small family celebrations, making it a universally appealing choice for many social events.

  • Celebratory Events: Ideal for weddings and anniversaries
  • Social Gatherings: Great for brunches and welcome drinks
  • Intimate Settings: Suitable for romantic dinners and small family celebrations.
  • Universal Appeal: Appealing for a wide range of occasions

Food Pairings with French 75

Pairing food with a French 75 offers an opportunity to complement its crisp and citrusy flavors. Light appetizers like shrimp cocktail or smoked salmon canapes beautifully match its refreshing nature. For brunch, pair it with egg dishes or fruit salads. The cocktail’s versatility also complements main courses like grilled chicken or seafood. For a sweet finish, try it with lemon tarts or fresh berries, enhancing the drink’s citrus notes.

  • Light appetizers: Shrimp cocktail, smoked salmon canapes
  • Brunch dishes: Egg-based recipes, fruit salads
  • Main courses: Grilled chicken, seafood
  • Desserts: Lemon tarts, fresh berries

These pairings highlight the French 75’s delightful versatility, making it a delightful companion to a wide range of dishes.

French 75 Cocktail

French 75

The French 75, a timeless cocktail known for its effervescent texture and elegant appearance, features a blend of gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and sparkling wine. Served in a champagne flute with an optional lemon twist garnish, this cocktail's clear, bubbly look and refreshing citrus flavor make it perfect for celebrations, pairing beautifully with light appetizers and brunch dishes.
Total Time 5 minutes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe


  • 1 Measuring jigger
  • 1 Cocktail shaker
  • 1 Strainer
  • 1 Flute glass
  • 1 Citrus juicer (optional; for freshly squeezed lemon juice)
  • 1 Citrus peeler/knife (optional; for garnish)


  • 3 oz Sparkling wine (preferably Champagne; 2-3 oz to top up the glass)
  • 1 oz Gin
  • ½ oz Lemon juice (fresh)
  • ½ oz Simple syrup
  • Ice cubes (for shaking)
  • Lemon peel (optional; for garnish)


  • Chill the Glass: Begin by chilling a champagne flute in the freezer, or with ice water, to enhance the drinking experience.
  • Mix Ingredients: In a cocktail shaker, combine gin, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup. (Do not shake the sparkling wine!)
  • Shake: Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds to mix, chill and slightly dilute the drink.
  • Strain: Strain the mixture into the chilled champagne flute, ensuring a smooth pour.
  • Top Up: Gently pour the sparkling wine into the glass to top off the cocktail.
  • Garnish: Add a lemon twist for garnish, releasing its essential oils over the drink. (Optional)
  • Serve Immediately: Serve the cocktail promptly to enjoy its fizz and refreshing taste.


Calories: 148kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 0.1gFat: 0.03gSaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 15mgPotassium: 99mgFiber: 0.04gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 1IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 10mgIron: 1mg
Calories: 148kcal
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Cocktail
Keyword: gin, sparkling wine
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