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French 75

Cotswold Cocktail School - French 75 Cocktail Recipe

ABV 20% / 2.5 alcoholic units

Primary spirit: Gin

A Brief History of the French 75

The French 75's history is as intriguing as its flavour. It is believed to have originated during World War I, at Harry's New York Bar in Paris, a popular haunt for American expatriates. Named after the French 75mm field gun, which was known for its powerful punch, this cocktail quickly gained popularity among soldiers and civilians alike.

Over the years, the French 75 has evolved into a symbol of celebration and sophistication, gracing the menus of upscale bars and cocktail lounges worldwide. Its timeless allure, combining the elegance of Champagne with the vivacity of gin, continues to captivate cocktail enthusiasts to this day.

Taste and Flavour Profile

The French 75 is a cocktail that dances on the palate with a delicate balance of flavours:

  • Gin: The base spirit, often dry gin, provides a botanical complexity with notes of juniper, herbs, and spices.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds a vibrant citrusy tang that complements the gin's character.
  • Simple Syrup: A touch of simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) contributes a subtle sweetness, harmonising the cocktail.
  • Champagne or Sparkling Wine: The crowning jewel, Champagne or sparkling wine, lends effervescence, elegance, and a touch of fruitiness.

The result is a cocktail that's crisp, refreshing, and exceptionally well-balanced—a true testament to the artistry of mixology.

Food Pairings

To enhance your French 75 experience, consider these delectable food pairings:

  • Oysters: Fresh oysters on the half shell provide a delightful contrast to the cocktail's effervescence.
  • Canapés: Serve elegant canapés with smoked salmon, caviar, or pâté for a sophisticated pairing.
  • Cheese Platter: A selection of fine cheeses pairs wonderfully with the French 75's balance of flavours.
  • Light Appetisers: Offer light appetisers like shrimp cocktail or bruschetta to complement the cocktail's freshness.

Bar Equipment

  • Cocktail shaker
  • Hawthorne strainer
  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Champagne flute
  • Jigger
  • Channel knife

Ingredients

  • 30ml Gin
  • 15ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 15ml sugar syrup*
  • 90ml Champagne/Prosecco top
  • Garnish with lemon twist
  • Ice

Method

  • Add ice, gin, sugar syrup and lemon juice into a shaker and vigorously shake for 15 seconds.
  • Double strain into a champagne flute and top with either Champagne or Prosecco
  • Garnish with lemon twist

*Sugar syrup - 1 part sugar to one part water. Gently heat in a pan until sugar has dissolved and allow to cool

What's the best Gin for a French 75?

The best gin for a French 75 cocktail should have a balanced and botanical-rich flavour profile that complements the other ingredients in the drink, especially the Champagne or sparkling wine. Here are a few excellent gin options to consider for your French 75:

  • Plymouth Gin: Plymouth Gin is a classic choice for a French 75. It has a smooth and slightly sweeter profile compared to some other gins, with hints of juniper, citrus, and spice. Its well-rounded character works beautifully in this cocktail.
  • Tanqueray London Dry Gin: Tanqueray is known for its bold and juniper-forward flavour, making it an excellent choice for those who prefer a more classic gin profile. Its botanicals add complexity to the French 75.
  • Hendrick's Gin: Hendrick's is a unique gin known for its infusion of cucumber and rose petals. It has a lighter and more floral character that can add a refreshing twist to the French 75.
  • Bombay Sapphire: Bombay Sapphire is a versatile gin with a balanced profile that includes botanicals like juniper, coriander, and citrus peels. It offers a harmonious blend of flavours for your French 75.
  • Beefeater London Dry Gin: Beefeater is a traditional London dry gin with a robust juniper backbone and a hint of citrus. It's a classic choice that pairs well with Champagne or sparkling wine.

When selecting a gin for your French 75, consider your personal taste preferences regarding gin's botanical complexity and juniper intensity. Ultimately, the gin should complement the fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and sparkling wine, contributing to a well-balanced and delightful cocktail experience. Experiment with different gins to find the one that suits your palate and enhances the overall enjoyment of your French 75.

Prosecco or Champagne?

Both Prosecco and Champagne can be used to make a French 75 cocktail, and the choice between them depends on your personal taste preferences and the level of elegance you want to achieve with your cocktail.

  • Champagne: Using Champagne in your French 75 will provide the most classic and luxurious experience. Champagne is known for its fine bubbles, complex flavours, and elegant aroma. It has a dry and crisp character, which pairs exceptionally well with the botanicals of gin, the acidity of fresh lemon juice, and the sweetness of simple syrup in the cocktail. If you want to create a truly elegant and upscale French 75, Champagne is the way to go.
  • Prosecco: Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine that is slightly sweeter and fruitier than Champagne. It has a more approachable and easygoing character. Using Prosecco in your French 75 will result in a sweeter and fruitier version of the cocktail. This can be a great choice if you prefer a slightly sweeter and less dry taste in your French 75.

Ultimately, the choice between Prosecco and Champagne for your French 75 comes down to your personal preference and the occasion. If you're aiming for a more casual and approachable cocktail, Prosecco works well. However, if you want to elevate the cocktail to a higher level of sophistication and elegance, Champagne is the preferred choice.

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