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Drink Of The Week: French 75

I'm not sure where I read it, but I have long believed that it's a good idea to always have a bottle of champagne chilling in the refrigerator. You just never know when a special occasion will present itself, or when someone will share news that is worthy of celebration. Sometimes, however, not everyone wants to drink bubbly, or perhaps you think it's time to swap that bottle for something new. Whatever the circumstance, it's never a bad time to open a bottle, and sometimes sharing a round of champagne cocktails is enough of an excuse. This week, I want to share the French 75, a wonderful twist on the Collins that is perfect for warm summer nights.

The French 75 is named for a French-made 75mm artillery canon that saw widespread use in World War I. It's revolutionary recoil design allowed rapid firing without the need to reposition and aim before each shot. How this relates to the cocktail is anyone's guess. Perhaps champagne, being French, was enough of a connection to the popular field gun at the time and a catchy name was what the creator was after. What we do know is that the French 75 cocktail did not appear in print until 1930 when it shows up in Harry Craddock's The Savoy Cocktail Book. Although most recipes call for a teaspoon of sugar, This can be difficult to dissolve quickly, especially if you are making more than one of these, so I substitute a quarter ounce of 1:1 simple syrup.

French 75
1.5 oz gin
.75 oz lemon juice
.25 oz simple syrup
4 oz chilled champagne

Add everything but the champagne to a shaker, add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a Collins glass filled with cracked ice. Top with champagne.

There are plenty of ways to put champagne to good use in a cocktail besides our Drink of the Week. In fact, many recipes that call for soda can be fancied-up by subbing champagne in its stead. That's really all we are doing here. Take a Tom Collins, cut some of the sweet and substitute champagne for the club soda and you have it. You could also look at it from the opposite direction: it's a sparkling wine fortified with gin and bit of fresh lemon sour. Either way you describe it, the flavors work nicely together and result in a simple, refreshing and elegant cocktail with a little more going on than a basic Tom Collins.

As you can see, I used a pink champagne in mine and garnished it with a lemon wheel. I like the effect, but you can use whatever you have chilling in the refrigerator. Like most cocktails, the better your ingredients the more you will enjoy your results, but this is also a great way to use up a bottle of sparkling wine that may not be as tasty by itself.

5 comments to Drink Of The Week: French 75

  • Steve

    While looking through these recipes trying to decide what to make tonight, I read the phrase "it’s never a bad time to open a bottle" and it was a done deal. Pop!

  • I love that you were able to make use of something you already had. Every time I am in that situation, it seems I end up adding another new bottle to the collection!

    When you are searching, are you using the Archives page, browsing the DOTW category, or clicking the "recipe" tag? I am just curious how you use the site to draw inspiration.

  • Steve

    I'm always up to date on the DOTW from being a fan on your Facebook page, but when searching for a drink on your site I typically use your search function based on an ingredient such as "lavender", "whiskey", etc. This time I was just perusing and going down the list on the main page searching for a recipe that I already have all the ingredients for. I must admit, when I was reading about the French 75 I didn't want to open a whole bottle of champagne, but it was the comment you made about it always being a good time to pop the cork that convinced me to seize the moment and celebrate today.

  • I don't know if you see any difference, but I upgraded the search function about a week ago. As content grows, I needed a better search engine that gives results based on relevance. Before, it would give results with most recent posts listed first, often putting what you are looking for at the end or on subsequent pages. I think it's much improved.

  • Also, and this may be obvious to some readers, the "tag cloud" labeled Subjects Of Interest in the left sidebar links to posts that are tagged with the corresponding word. I always tag my posts with every ingredient from any recipes I list, so if you were interested in a whiskey cocktail, you can use the tag link for whiskey and it should bring up posts either about whiskey or with recipes that contain whiskey. A search, on the other hand, will list posts thet merely mention of the word—a situation where I wouldn't be tagging it.

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