French 75 Cocktail Variations for New Year’s Eve (or Anytime!)

french 75 with a cocktail shaker

The quintessential champagne cocktail might very well be the French 75. It’s said to be named after an artillery piece iconic to World War I, but beyond that its origins are a bit murky. Variations of the 75 date back to at least the 1910s, but a cocktail closely resembling the one we drink today didn’t make its first written appearance (that we know of) until the 1927 bartending guide Here’s How. From there, legendary bartender Harry Craddock assured its longevity when he published a similar recipe for “The French 75 Cocktail” in his 1930 tome The Savoy Cocktail Book, remarking that it’s a recipe that “hits with remarkable precision.”

Whatever its origin, the French 75 of today is typically varying measures of lemon juice, simple syrup or sugar, and gin or cognac, topped with champagne or sparkling wine. It’s undeniably elegant and trans-seasonal, which makes it equally appropriate for a summer wedding or New Year’s Eve.

It is also a cocktail begging for reinterpretation. Because it’s based on a rather simple formula– spirit + sour + sweet + champagne–it’s a good starting-off point for experimentation. You can swap out the spirit, adjust the sweetness level, replace the sugar with a liqueur or flavored simple syrup, or mix up the citrus to suit your mood, the occasion, or just the ingredients you have on hand.

Below is a recipe for a classic French 75 plus some of our favorite variations. Try them for yourself or use them as inspiration for your own cocktail. If you opt for the latter, a clever name is not mandatory, but it IS highly recommended.


Classic French 75

Yield: 1 cocktail

Ingredients
1 ounce gin or cognac
½ lemon juice
½ ounce simple syrup
2 ounces sparkling wine

Tools
Cocktail shaker
Strainer (if not built into your shaker)
Jigger
Citrus juicer

Directions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine gin or cognac, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
  2. Add ice and shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker frosts.
  3. Strain into a champagne coupe or flute and top with sparkling wine.
  4. Garnish with lemon twist.

A French 75 variation with gin and lime

Truth Be Told

Yield: 1 cocktail

Ingredients
1 ounce gin
¾ ounce White Whale “The Filthy Liar” lychee cocktail mixer
½ ounce lime juice
¼ ounce simple syrup
2 ounces sparkling wine

Tools
Cocktail shaker
Strainer (if not built into your shaker)
Jigger
Citrus juicer

Directions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine gin, cocktail mixer, lime juice, and simple syrup.
  2. Add ice and shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker frosts.
  3. Strain into a champagne coupe or flute and top with sparkling wine.
  4. Garnish with lime wheel, wedge, or twist.

a french 75 variation with cognac, suze, honey, and lemon,

“It’s Susie.”

Yield: 1 cocktail

Ingredients
1 ounce cognac
¼ ounce Suze
½ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce pineapple juice
½ ounce honey simple syrup
2 ounces sparkling wine

Tools
Cocktail shaker
Strainer (if not built into your shaker)
Jigger
Citrus juicer

Directions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine cognac, Suze,  lemon and pineapple juices, and simple syrup.
  2. Add ice and shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker frosts.
  3. Strain into a champagne coupe or flute and top with sparkling wine.
  4. Garnish with a lemon twist or pineapple frond.

french 75 variation with rum,  luxardo, grapefruit

Hemingway in Paris

1 ounce white rum
¼ ounce Cointreau
¼ ounce Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
¾ ounce grapefruit juice
½ ounce lime juice
¼ ounce simple syrup
2 ounces sparkling wine

Tools
Cocktail shaker
Strainer (if not built into your shaker)
Jigger
Citrus juicer

Directions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine rum, Cointreau,  Luxardo, grapefruit and lime juices, and simple syrup.
  2. Add ice and shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker frosts.
  3. Strain into a champagne coupe or flute and top with sparkling wine.
  4. Garnish with Luxardo cherries.

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