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A French 75 is a bright and bubbly cocktail made with gin, lemon juice, and sparkling wine. It's elegant enough for the most special celebrations, yet easy enough to enjoy with Sunday brunch. It's made with just 5 ingredients, and it's ready in minutes!
A French 75 is a classy cocktail with a bright citrus flavor and a bubbly mouthfeel. It's tangy, effervescent, and mildly botanical. Trust us when we say that one sip will make you feel like it's New Year's Eve in Paris!
It's a straightforward cocktail and the only swap we make in our version is we use honey instead of sugar or simple syrup. We find the flavor of honey pairs really well with the fresh lemon juice and herbal gin. It's one of those cocktails you'll revisit again and again. From special celebrations to brunch with friends, it's a celebratory drink that elevates any occasion!
What is a French 75 cocktail?
A French 75 is a classic cocktail made from gin, fresh lemon juice, sugar, and champagne. Its exact origins are unclear, but it gets its name from the French 75mm field gun used in World War I. In France, it's simply called a soixante-quinze (seventy-five).
Some early recipe books actually call for cognac in place of gin, and although both make an exquisite cocktail, gin has become more widely used.
Today a French 75 is a popular drink on brunch menus and at cocktail bars. It's boozier than a mimosa but equally refreshing, and elegant enough for holiday parties and special celebrations.
French 75 ingredients
You only need 5 basic ingredients to make this French 75 cocktail recipe. Here's what you need:
- Honey – there are literally hundreds of types of honey in the world with their own unique flavors, but any kind will work. We like to use raw, unprocessed honey that's free of additives.
- Hot tap water – for dissolving the sugar.
- Gin – nothing too fancy; a mixing quality gin is all you need.
- Lemon juice – only the bright taste of fresh lemon juice will do for this cocktail.
- Sparkling wine – our first choices are cava or prosecco because they're dry sparkling wines, and it's easy to find affordable options.
How to make a French 75
This French 75 recipe is surprisingly easy to make, and you'll find yourself revisiting it again and again. Here's how to make it in just three simple steps:
- Stir the honey and hot tap water together until the honey dissolves.
- To a mixing glass or cocktail shaker with ice, add the honey water, gin, and fresh lemon juice and stir. There's no need to shake, just a good stir until everything is nice and cold.
- Strain it into a champagne flute, top it with sparkling wine, and garnish it with a lemon peel or lemon twist. Cheers!
How to make a lemon twist
A lemon twist, sometimes called a lemon curl, is a pretty garnish for cocktails with citrus ingredients. They're easy to make, and they add a lovely touch to your drink! Here's how to make one:
- Slice a ¼ inch ring from the middle section of a lemon.
- Cut into the lemon slice on one side, and use a pairing knife to cut away the pulp.
- Use your knife to carefully cut away most of the pith (the bitter white part).
- Use your hands to twist it into a curly-q shape. Voilà!
How to make French 75 cocktails for a crowd
If you're entertaining and you don't want to mix up a million individual cocktails, you have a couple of options. You can either make multiple servings at once or make a pitcher ahead of time!
- Mix up to four drinks at once. Scale up the ingredients to make four drinks, and use a 4-cup mason jar to stir together the honey water, gin, and lemon juice. Divide between four champagne flutes, and top with champagne.
- Make a pitcher in advance. Scale up the ingredients (using cups instead of ounces), and add the honey water, gin, and lemon juice to a pitcher. Store it in the fridge until you're ready to serve and then pour it into each glass before topping it with champagne. If the pitcher has been in your fridge long enough to make the gin cold, you can skip the step of adding ice.
When to serve a French 75
A French 75 is a sophisticated cocktail that adds class to any occasion! It's perfect for special celebrations like weddings, showers, or New Year's Eve alongside some hors d'oeuvres.
You don't need to wait for a special occasion to enjoy one, though. If you love champagne cocktails like a mimosa, it's a boozier alternative that's equally refreshing. The French 75 is our go-to when only a bubbly drink will do!
Should I swap the gin for cognac?
That's totally a personal preference. We like gin's light taste and herbal notes, but if you like a sweeter richer cocktail, go for cognac. Or try both!
What's the best type of gin to use?
Any mixing quality dry gin is perfect for this cocktail. It doesn't need to be expensive, but you will be able to taste it, so something mid-range like Hendricks gin works well.
What type of sparkling wine should I use?
While champagne is the traditional choice, dry sparkling wine like cava or prosecco works perfectly and there are many budget-friendly options.
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons hot tap water
- 1 ½ ounces gin
- ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
- 3 ounces sparkling wine
- In a glass, mix the honey and hot tap water until the honey has fully dissolved.1 tablespoon honey, 2 tablespoons hot tap water
- Fill a mixing glass half-full with ice. Add the honey water, gin, and lemon juice and stir until it's cold.1 ½ ounces gin, ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
- Strain into a champagne flute and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a lemon peel.3 ounces sparkling wine
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.