French 75 (Variation)

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Cocktail History

The French 75 is a classic cocktail that was created in the early 1900s by Harry MacElhone at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, France. The original is made with gin, sugar, lemon, and sparkling wine and is said to have been named for the 75mm French artillery gun used in World War I. It was popularized in the United States by the Stork Club in New York City, New York when American soldiers brought the recipe home from Europe, and although traditionally made with gin, David A. Embury insisted that it be made with brandy instead in 1948, so this variation calls for Armagnac as the base.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Sparkling Wine: This is a carbonated wine made with white or red grapes. We used Villa Bellezza Winery Brillante because it has a light and airy flavor. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Gruvi Non-Alcoholic Prosecco in place of the sparkling wine.

Armagnac: This is the other base spirit. We chose ODVI Armagnac because it’s fresh, fruity, peppery, and mild with notes of peach and prune. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Escape Mocktails Non-Alcoholic Cognac Alternative in place of the brandy.

Lemon Juice: This is the liquid juice of a lemon. We used freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Simple Syrup: This is a sweetener made with white sugar and water. We made ours at home using Alex’s stovetop recipe.

Lemon Twist: This is the peel of a lemon that has been twisted into a corkscrew shape.

Bartending Tools

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following bar tools:

Jigger: This is used to measure and pour ingredients. We used the Japanese jigger from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Boston Shaker: This is used to shake ingredients. We used the Boston shaker from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Hawthorne Strainer: This is used to strain out ice and solid ingredients after the cocktail is shaken. We used the A Bar Above Hawthorne Strainer.

Paring Knife: This is used to cut citrus into slices or wheels. We used the OXO Good Grips 3.5 Inch Paring Knife.

Juicer: This is used to juice citrus. We used the ALEEHAI Manual Fruit Juicer.

Peeler: This is used to remove the garnish peel from the citrus. We used the OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Peeler Set.

Tasting Notes

The French 75 features aromas of the grape spirit, lemon, and wine, and it has a taste that marries Armagnac’s deep, dry flavors with sparkling wine’s bright effervescence balanced with lemon tartness and sugary sweetness. The aftertaste then features quite a bit of the wood-tinged flavors of the spirit, giving the whole cocktail an air of having been barrel-aged. 

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: We both thought this version of the French 75 was much more pleasant than the standard gin-based recipe, with the brandy offering a deeper and darker flavor that juxtaposed the brightness of the sparkling wine in a very pleasant way. And even though we’re both huge fans of gin, we’ll most likely be making this variation going forward.

Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

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Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“I’ve only had French 75s made with gin, so the Armagnac version was new territory for me, and I dare say I think I liked more. As much as I love gin’s ability to lend great herbal quality to a French 75, the barrel-aged grape spirit brings completely different character to the drink that makes it even better, in my opinion. Like most sparkling wine cocktails, I still felt like this tastes a little too much like the bubbly to differentiate the flavors very much, but I did enjoy this more than the more standard gin version.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“It wasn’t until I read the description of this cocktail in the book that I realized a French 75 could have a brandy base. I’ve also only ever seen gin used, but I’m really glad we went with Armagnac instead. In my opinion, the iterations I’ve had with gin masked the spirit’s unique botanical flavor way too much no matter what brand we used, and the brandy does a much better job of standing out in this recipe. I enjoyed this more complex version of the classic quite a bit and will be requesting it again!”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks by the editors of PUNCH and Megan Krigbaum.

Sale
The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks with 150 Recipes
The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks with 150 Recipes
Hardcover Book; Editors of PUNCH (Author); English (Publication Language); 352 Pages – 09/05/2017 (Publication Date) – Ten Speed Press (Publisher)
$13.05 Amazon Prime

AuthorThe Essential Cocktail Book

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

Ingredients
 3 oz Sparkling Wine
 1 ½ oz Armagnac or Gin
 ½ oz Lemon Juice
 1 Lemon Twist

Method
1

Add brandy or gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and cubed ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a champagne glass.

4

Top with sparkling wine.

5

Garnish with lemon twist.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 3 oz Sparkling Wine
 1 ½ oz Armagnac or Gin
 ½ oz Lemon Juice
 1 Lemon Twist

Directions

Method
1

Add brandy or gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and cubed ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a champagne glass.

4

Top with sparkling wine.

5

Garnish with lemon twist.

French 75 (Variation)

Make It a Mocktail: Use Gruvi Non-Alcoholic Prosecco in place of the sparkling wine and Escape Mocktails Non-Alcoholic Cognac Alternative in place of the brandy to try a booze-free version of this drink.

Shop Glassware & Tools

Find collections of cocktail glassware and bartending tools we recommend for your home bar in our Amazon shop.

Marquis by Waterford Markham Flute Set of 4, 4 Count (Pack of 1), Clear
Marquis by Waterford Markham Flute Set of 4, 4 Count (Pack of 1), Clear
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Waterford Lismore Essence Flute, Set of 2
Waterford Lismore Essence Flute, Set of 2
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Godinger Dublin Crystal Champagne Flutes - Set of 4, 6 ounce
Godinger Dublin Crystal Champagne Flutes – Set of 4, 6 ounce
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OXO Good Grips 3.5 Inch Pairing Knife,Black/Silver,3-1/2-Inch
OXO Good Grips 3.5 Inch Pairing Knife,Black/Silver,3-1/2-Inch
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OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Peeler Set - Swivel and Julienne
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More Sparkling Wine Cocktails

If you like this sparkling wine-based cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Minute To Midnight Cocktail Recipe

Minute To Midnight: A brandy cocktail made with pear liqueur, Angostura aromatic bitters, dry sparkling wine, and a lemon twist

Mountaintop Meadow Cocktail Recipe

Mountaintop Meadow: A vodka cocktail made with elderflower liqueur, simple syrup, lavender bitters, dry sparkling wine, a pineapple wedge, and mint

Pomegranate Gin Fizz Cocktail Recipe

Pomegranate Gin Fizz: A gin cocktail made with grenadine, sparkling wine, pomegranate seeds, and a Demerara sugar cube

Nucleus Mimosa Cocktail Recipe

Nucleus Mimosa: A sparkling wine cocktail made with orange juice, cranberry juice, and a lime slice

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