The French 75 is a popular classic cocktail found equally often atop brunch tables and at festive evening affairs. It’s a combination of gin (or sometimes cognac), freshly squeezed lemon juice and simple syrup, topped with a generous pour of sparkling wine and most frequently served in a Champagne flute. It’s a sophisticated sip that’s easy to love.
The cocktail first appeared in print in 1927, at the height of Prohibition, in a “bootlegger-friendly little volume” called “Here’s How!,” according to drinks historian David Wondrich. Its inclusion in Harry Craddock’s 1930 “The Savoy Cocktail Book” raised its profile even further, cementing its popularity.
The French 75’s relatively simple template of ingredients renders it one of the easiest cocktails to riff on with the addition of fruit syrups, alternate spirits and more. These are a few variations you’ll want to try right now.
New York City is the source of many classic and modern classic cocktails, and the Old Cuban is among the best. It was created by Audrey Saunders, an NYC bartending legend best known for helming the now-shuttered Pegu Club, where she mentored a roster of bartenders who themselves went on to become some of the most recognizable names in the cocktail world. The drink falls somewhere between a French 75 and a Mojito, a mix of aged rum, lime juice, simple syrup, Angostura bitters, mint and Champagne.
South Mint 75
The South Side is a popular gin sour that’s essentially a Gimlet with mint, and this drink is a subtle evolution of the South Side, as its name would imply. It pulls inspiration from Southeast Asia with the use of a lemongrass syrup providing citrus-forward herbal notes, which is joined by gin, lime juice and mint, with cava providing bubbles.
Staying mostly true to the classic French 75, this riff swaps out the usual sparkling wine in favor of French cider, which brings a fruity and mildly funky depth to this otherwise simple riff. The choice of gin is especially important; a floral and juniper-forward London dry style will complement the cider’s flavors best.
This cocktail merges two classics, the French 75 and the New York Sour, into one great drink. Calvados, a refined French apple brandy, is paired with lemon juice, raspberry syrup and orange bitters, plus a hefty float of sparkling red wine for visual fireworks.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
Romancing the Stone
This riff on the French 75 uses an unorthodox base of apricot eau-de-vie, combining it with lemon juice, honey syrup and Peychaud’s bitters before topping it all with sparkling wine. The cocktail oozes sophistication with pronounced stone fruit and floral flavors.
This cocktail’s refreshing notes of lemon and cucumber make it ideal for summer but also an easy yet sophisticated year-round drink. It’s made with a base of cucumber vodka paired with cucumber juice, Cointreau, lemon juice and agave nectar and topped off with Champagne, a balanced mixture that brings finesse with unique depth and character.