Sweet, tart, sparkly and strong… the French 75 is classic for all the right reasons. (Photo by Brent Hofacker)

One would assume that a cocktail named after a cannon designed to deliver large volumes of shrapnel and poison over enemy troops would be lethal, right? Fair enough. However, when made properly, few drinks are as elegant and refreshing. 

Despite it’s nom de guerre, The French 75 was created by Scotsman Harry MacElhone and traces its WWI origins—like so many good things—to Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. 

Known for its bracing, concussive effects (likened to being shelled by artillery), earlier versions of this cocktail often called for brandy and would be served in a Collins glass.

Vintage mixology books are brimming with recipes for champagne cocktails that unite liquor, sparkling wine, and fruit.  Today’s familiar gin version of the French 75 draws inspiration from Harry Craddock’s 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book, still a paragon.

Best enjoyed in a traditional champagne flute and served ice cold, this favorite of mine is both citrusy and lightly sweet while remaining balanced, with classic juniper tones and the lively effervescence of champagne. Delicious!

Bombs away.


1 1/2 ounce dry gin (I prefer Gordon’s, but any London Dry can do the trick)

3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 ounce simple syrup 

Chilled Brut Champagne (or dry sparkling wine like Prosecco)


  1. Combine gin, lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add ice to cocktail shaker.
  3. Shake vigorously, until frosted over.
  4. Strain into champagne flute and top with champagne.
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist and enjoy.