The French 75 has become one of the most iconic cocktails in the world.
As a result, it’s easy to see why people love this drink so much.
It’s got an incredible taste profile that makes it stand out from any other cocktail on the market — no wonder it’s been around since the 1920s!
But what exactly does a French 75 (or French 76) entail?
And how can you create your own version at home?
We’re going to answer all these questions in this article, but first let us tell you about the story behind the French 75.
What Are The Ingredients In A French 76 Recipe?
When we talk about a French 75, we mean two things: 1) The recipe itself, which involves gin, Cointreau, and lime juice, 2) A specific glass called the “shaker” or “champagne flute.” Both have their origins in France, where they were originally created by the famous bartender Jerry Thomas, who was born in 1839.
Gin is the base spirit used in both recipes.
In a classic French 75 recipe, there is only enough gin in the mix to fill the shaker halfway.
This is because the liqueur Cointreau is added later, after the alcohol content has reduced slightly over time while the mixture sits in the fridge.
However, if you want to use 100% gin, then you’ll need more than just half as much.
Cointreau is a sweet orange-flavored liqueur found mostly in Europe, although it’s also available in the U.S.
under various brand names like Triple Sec and Grand Marnier.
There are many different types of Cointreau, but the one used in a French 75 recipe should be clear or colorless.
It shouldn’t contain any caramel coloring or artificial flavors, and it should not be mixed with water.
Some brands may include a hint of almond oil, which is fine.
But don’t add anything else.
Lime juice is included in both recipes, but its role differs depending on whether you’re using the original or modern versions of the French 75.
If you’re following the standard recipe, then the ratio of juice to liquor will be 3 parts liquid to 1 part solid.
That means that each ounce of gin contains three ounces of lime juice.
For the modern version, the ratio is reversed: Each ounce of lime juice contains three ounces of liquor.
Finally, simple syrup is sometimes referred to as “simple,” but it’s actually another word for “confectioner’s sugar.”
Confectioners’ sugar is a type of powdered sugar that comes in granulated form and is usually white or pale yellow in color.
It dissolves quickly when heated, unlike regular table sugar, which needs to be dissolved in hot water before being added to drinks.
Simple syrup can also come in a jar or bottle.
Either way, it’s very important that the amount of sugar in the mix always equals the number of tablespoons specified in the recipe.
How Do You Make A French 76?
First, pour the gin into the bottom chamber of the shaker.
Then place the ice cubes inside the top chamber.
Now, carefully add the Cointreau until the volume reaches roughly four times the size of the empty space left in the shaker.
Finally, squeeze the lime juice directly onto the surface of the ice cubes.
Don’t worry about getting every last drop out of the wedge of lime.
You won’t notice a bit missing once you’ve finished shaking everything together.
Now shake vigorously for 10 seconds.
Afterward, remove the lid and strain the contents into a chilled Champagne flute.
Serve immediately, preferably over fresh ice.
What is the history of the French 75 cocktail?
In his book Bartender’s Guide, published in 1934, Jerry Thomas writes extensively about his favorite drink, which he calls the “Fizz Up Special”:
It consists of five measures of good old rye whiskey…a dash [of] curacao, and a little sugar syrup.
Add one measure of seltzer, fill up the tumbler with crushed ice, stir well, garnish with fruit, and serve.
I call it the Fizz Up Special because it fizzes up as soon as it hits the tongue.
Thomas would eventually go on to publish several other books, including How To Mix Drinks & Spirits & What Makes Them Taste So Good, which includes a chapter on the French 75.
He even mentions the term “Champagne Flute,” although he doesn’t give any additional details regarding its origin.
What Is The Difference Between A French 75 And A French 76?
There are actually two separate recipes that are known as the French 75.
One recipe comes from New York City barman Joe Baumgarten, who named it the French 75 after the popular song “Tico Tico No Tempo Do Amor,” which was written by Brazilian composer Vinícius de Moraes in 1945.
The second recipe appears in Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book, which was released in 1930.
Although the two recipes differ slightly in terms of proportions, they share the same basic elements.
How Do You Make A Sparkling Wine French 75?
You could try substituting sparkling wine for the vodka in a typical French 75 recipe, but doing so isn’t recommended.
Sparkling wines tend to be sweeter than vodkas, and adding too much sugar to the mix might affect the flavor.
Instead, try replacing the vodka with dry vermouth, which is often used in combination with either citrus juices or bitters.
Dry vermouth adds complexity without overpowering the other ingredients.
If you’d prefer to stick with sparkling wine, then you probably know that it must be served cold, straight from a freezer.
Otherwise, it will begin to oxidize (turn brown).
You can store it in the refrigerator for 24 hours beforehand, but it’ll still start to turn brown after 48 hours.
Once it reaches room temperature, the bubbles will dissipate completely.
What Are Some Variations Of The French 75 Recipe?
Although the original recipe uses gin, you can substitute bourbon, Scotch whisky, tequila, rum, grappa, or cognac instead.
If you choose something with less body, such as whisky or cognac, then you’ll likely end up diluting the drink somewhat.
Conversely, if you opt for something stronger, such as gin or tequila, you should increase the quantity of liqueur accordingly.
Another variation involves swapping out the grapefruit juice for pineapple juice, which works really well.
Pineapple juice has a similar tartness to grapefruit juice, but it brings a whole new level of brightness to the overall taste.
What is the origin of the name “French 75”?
The name “French 75” came about thanks to the popularity of the song “Tico Tico No Tempo Do Amor,” which was performed by Brazilian singer João Gilberto in 1946.
According to Wikipedia, the title refers to the fact that the tempo of the music corresponds to the rhythm of drinking the drink.
How Do You Make A Nonalcoholic French 75?
While you can certainly enjoy a French 75 without booze, it’s best to save them for special occasions.
Still, if you want to recreate the experience but keep the alcohol levels down, here’s what you need to do:
Start by pouring yourself a large glass of club soda, then slowly add some tonic water.
Stir thoroughly, and voila! Your homemade nonalcoholic French 75 is ready to go.
What Are Some Tips For Making A Perfect French 75?
To ensure everyone gets equal amounts of liquid, remember to take note of the measurements listed in the recipe.
Also, don’t forget to shake the shaker properly.
Sometimes, people leave the cap off until they’re almost done mixing, which can lead to uneven results.
And finally, don’t worry about using freshly squeezed lime juice.
While it tastes better, it’s perfectly acceptable to buy a pre-squeezed lime from the grocery store.
Just be sure to rinse the rind well afterward.
How Do You Serve A French 75?
Whether you’re serving a French 75 at home or in a restaurant, follow these guidelines:
Always serve it in a chilled Champagne flute, unless otherwise indicated in the recipe.
Never chill the drink in advance.
Doing so causes the carbonation to disappear, which is definitely not ideal.
Don’t add extra ice during service.
The goal is to get the drink served as cold as possible, so it retains maximum flavor.
Do double check that the drink hasn’t gone flat before sending it back to the kitchen.
If it looks or smells bad, throw it away and ask the server to prepare a replacement.
- 1 Glass
- 1 30ml Vodka
- 1/2 15ml Lemon Juice
- 1/4 7.5ml Simple Syrup
- 1 Champagne
- 1 Cherry
- Mix vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Into a chilled champagne glass, strain.
- Add champagne on the top. Cherry garnish is optional.
- DRINK CONSCIOUSLY!