French 75

Happy Bastille Day!

For Bastille Day, here is a powerful cocktail.

French 75 is a cocktail made from gin, champagne, lemon juice, and sugar.

The drink was originally concocted by the Franco-American World War I flying ace Raoul Lufbery who was part of Escadrille Américaine air fighting unit. Legend has it that he liked champagne, but wanted something with more of a kick to it. The combination of ingredients was said to have such a kick that it felt like being shelled with the powerful French 75mm howitzer artillery piece, also called a “75 Cocktail”, or “Soixante Quinze” in French. The French 75 was popularized in America at the Stork Club. Originally, Cognac was used instead of gin.

If Vodka is substituted the result can be referred to as a French 76.

“It’s unclear what makes the French 75 so powerful—maybe it’s the combination of liquors— but, whoo boy, do you feel it when you down one!” – Jean Shepherd, raconteur and author.

French 75

2 oz London Dry Gin
1/2 oz simple syrup (or 1 tsp superfine sugar)
1 oz lemon juice
Brut Champagne or other dry sparkling wine

Combine gin, sugar, (and lemon juice if desired) in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a two iced champagne flutes (or a Collins glass with crushed ice). Fill with champagne.

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