French 75 cocktail in Champagne flutes with garnish

French 75

By Timo Torner / Last updated on March 14, 2022 
The 75 cocktail, also called the French 75, is a bubbly drink made of Gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and sugar. If you want to show off a little and order the drink in French, ask for a Soixante Quinze (that literally translates to 75).

When looking at today's recipe for a French 75, a lot has changed since the original drink got invented. During World War I, Harry MacElhone created the cocktail, and it was so boozy that people compared it to the fast-firing field gun the French used in battle, a 75mm caliber.

But by looking at the current recipe, it's hard to believe that the cocktail once had such a kick. The reason is, back in the early days of the drink, the list of ingredients was very different. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself. So read on to find out more about the French 75's history.

History of the French 75 cocktail

As mentioned before, Harry MacElhone created the early version of the French 75 during World War I. Most likely around 1915. He composed the cocktail in his bar in Paris called Harry's New York Bar. And surely, he must have been in quite a state when he felt like creating a concoction that was so strong that it made people think of the French fast-firing field gun.

In his original formula, MacElhone used Calvados, Gin, Grenadine, and Absinthe. This recipe was first published in 1922 when he released his renowned book, Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails. Later that year, the cocktail recipe also was published in another book by Robert Vermiere. In his version, Vermiere gives credit to Harry MacElhone for inventing the drink but adds lime juice to better balance the flavors. 

A few years later, in 1927, a Mr. Judge Jr. made some more significant changes in the recipe and published it in his book Here's How. And it was he who came up with the list of ingredients that have prevailed until today - Gin, Champagne, sugar, and lemon juice. The fact that the French 75 also got published in The Savoy Cocktail Book, one of the most famous cocktail books in history, helped popularize the drink, too.

Appearances in a couple of movies also familiarized people with this cocktail and made it known to the broad masses. References in Casablanca and A Man Betrayed quite possibly had the highest impact.

Ingredients of the 75 cocktail

The modern recipe is less complex than the original one, but still, you want to make the cocktail the best it can be. Therefore, freshly squeezed lemon juice is an absolute must. Otherwise, your whole drink will fall flat.

When it comes to the sweet component, some prefer a rich simple syrup - a ratio of 2:1, sugar to water. But probably, you will not taste the difference to ordinary simple syrup as the recipe asks only for a tiny bit of sugar.

Then there is the Champagne, quite a delicate ingredient. For the French 75, it is best to go with a Brut Champagne. Moet will work fine, but my personal recommendation is Louis Roederer Brut Champagne. In this price range, I don't think you can find anything with a similar value for money, Moet included.

Finally, let's talk about Gin. The cocktail is a true classic, and so I would recommend using a standard Dry Gin. But of course, if you want to experiment a bit with the flavors, you can also try a London Dry. Or you opt for another type of Gin altogether and test how it affects the final result.

French 75 cocktail in Champagne flutes with garnish

French 75

A sparkling cocktail made of Gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Champagne, Gin
Servings: 1
Calories: 201kcal
Cost: $5.60


  • 1.5 oz Dry Gin
  • 2.5 oz Louis Roederer Brut Premier
  • 0.5 oz Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 bsp Simple syrup
  • 1 Lemon peel twist (for garnish)


  • Add Gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup to your cocktail shaker and shake using plenty of ice.
    1.5 oz Dry Gin, 0.5 oz Freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 bsp Simple syrup
  • Once the drink is well-chilled, strain into a Champagne flute and top with Champagne.
  • Garnish with lemon peel.
    1 Lemon peel twist


Serving: 5oz | Calories: 201kcal | Carbohydrates: 50.94g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.133g | Sodium: 7.46mg | Potassium: 338.96mg | Sugar: 48.36g | Vitamin C: 19.5mg | Calcium: 55.41mg | Iron: 1.83mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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