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The 1st French 75 Recipe Called For Gin

The first French 75 recipe was printed in the Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930 by Harry MacElhone. The champagne cocktail made it’s first appearance during World War I in Paris at an American bar (1). Named after the first modern machine gun, the drink packs a punch far beyond the average low-proof glass of Champagne. It’s a spritzy drink prepared with gin, Champagne, lemon and sugar, making it the ideal summer cocktail. Because of it’s simplicity and mouthwatering aromatics, the French 75 has endured 100 years of popularity.

Because of it’s simplicity and mouthwatering aromatics, the French 75 has endured 100 years of popularity.

We asked the bar manager, Hideki Anpo, at Poppy Seattle to prepare the drink as it would be most typically served using fresh squeezed lemon and a house-made simple syrup. Watch how to make a French 75 in one minute and see the recipe below for ingredients.

The first French 75 called for gin.

French 75 Recipe

Ingredients Needed
  • 1.5 ounces gin
  • .5 ounces lemon juice
  • .25 ounces simple syrup
  • ~1 ounce of Champagne
  • Make simple syrup with equal parts hot water and sugar; it lasts a week in the fridge.
  • Use Cava instead of Champagne, such as: Poema Brut
  • A cocktail mixer with a glass and metal cup is better for shaking.
  • A jigger is used to measure a proper shot. Example: jiggers

Measure the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup with the jigger and pour into the mixing glass of the cocktail mixer. Cover mixture with ice and shake for about 8-10 seconds. Strain with a cocktail strainer through a tea strainer (if you like the lemon perfectly strained) into a Champagne glass. Top with Cava. Garnish with a peel of lemon.

Original Edition Savoy Cocktail Book printed in 1930
The original Savoy Cocktail book came out during the depression in 1930. This photo is of the original edition.

The First French 75 Recipe Called For Gin

There’s a dispute as to the base liquor being gin or not. In the 1948 book The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks they called for cognac. The argument is that if it’s truly a French drink, wouldn’t the French use their local brandy Cognac instead? Since it was originally an American bar that developed the cocktail, perhaps the original cocktail named the French 75 was made with gin. Regardless, they’re both delicious. Perhaps we can call the cognac version the French 75.2


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