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How to make the classic French 75 cocktail: Soixante Quinze

French 75 Soixante Quinze cocktail (J Chung)

Here’s a classic drink that’s delicious and is easy to make at home. It’s called the “French 75” cocktail, also known as the “Soixante Quinze”. You just need a few ingredients and while there are many cocktails you can make, this one has a long history dating back to World War I.

Soixante Quinze French 75 Cocktail

The Soixante-quinze (Seventy-five) cocktail dates back to WWI and is made with champagne, gin, lemon juice, and simple sugar. The story goes that in 1915 the drink was created by bartender Harry MacElhone at the New York Bar (now Harry’s Bar) in Paris and was named after the French artillery piece, the 75mm field gun. The gun was capable of firing rapidly and with great force and it was the perfect name for this drink. Why?

The French 75 (soixante-quinze) had such a kick when you drank it that you felt like you were being bombarded with gunfire from this gun.

The drink gained popularity, appearing at the Stork Club in New York City and in the movie, “Casablanca” in 1942.  The soixante-quinze is very similar to the popular drink, Tom Collins, but uses champagne rather than carbonated water. Through the ages, the recipe has changed. While the main ingredients for the French 75 are gin, lemon juice, and sugar, some recipes use Calvados or Cognac. The classic recipe uses champagne.

It is traditionally served in a highball glass, but I personally think it’s much better looking in a champagne flute.

French 75-Soixante Quinze Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp (1.5 ounces) gin
  • 1 tbsp (3/4 ounce) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp (1/2 ounce) simple syrup*
  • 1 cup ice cubes 1/4 cup (2 ounces) Brut Champagne, chilled

Preparation:

  1. Prepare in advance: chill the glass, champagne, and gin; prepare the simple syrup (see below)*
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup
  3. Add ice and shake for 20 seconds
  4. Strain into a champagne flute (chilled) and top with champagne
  5. Garnish with a long lemon twist peel
  6. Serve immediately

Advice:

  • you don’t have to use expensive champagne. Dry champagne, Cava or sparkling wine are fine
  • easiest to buy “splits” of champagne (small bottles) as this cocktail is powerful and you will likely not go through a whole bottle
  • make sure the glass and Champagne are well chilled

**Simple syrup: 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water-boil together over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool before adding to the cocktail.

Whether you’re celebrating or just want a special drink, consider making the Soixante-quinze, French 75 cocktail. It’s easy to make and delicious. If you’re in Paris and want to celebrate, consider making this drink on New Year’s Eve, and then go celebrate at the Eiffel Tower

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Soixant Quinze The Classic French 75 Cocktail

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Irene S. Levine
    May 2, 2020 at 9:17 am

    This is one of my favorite cocktails! I first tasted it at The PIerre in NY! xo

  • Reply
    Kate
    May 2, 2020 at 11:15 am

    Wow, fun!
    Thanks Janice

  • Reply
    Kate
    May 2, 2020 at 11:38 am

    My friend introduced me to the French 75 in Victoria, BC before we tucked into a seafood meal. I found it refreshingly delicious!

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