Are you acquainted with the French 75? The French 75 is a refreshing and citrusy, sparkling gin cocktail that packs a punch. It’s perfect for the holidays and other celebratory occasions. The French 75 is the answer any time a bubbly cocktail is in order!
French 75’s are made with a standard pour of gin and topped with Champagne, so it’s a strong drink in a sparkling dress. In fact, it’s named after the French 75-mm field gun, which was commonly used in World War I.
Here’s my only spin on this classic cocktail: I used honey instead of sugar in the simple syrup. The light honey flavor plays beautifully with fresh lemon and herbal gin. That said, you can absolutely keep the the original recipe and use sugar if you’d prefer. My recipe works either way!
French 75 Ingredients & Tips
Whether you’re using honey or sugar, you’ll need to make simple syrup on the stove, which will take less than 5 minutes (if you try using straight honey in a cold cocktail, it will seize up). You can make the simple syrup up to several days before your party (store it in the refrigerator, covered) or just let it cool for a few minutes before you shake up your drinks.
As far as the gin is concerned, you can use standard dry gin, such as Beefeater. I used Hendrick’s instead, which has notes of cucumber and rose. If you’re going to the store for French 75 supplies, I’d personally reach for Hendrick’s (I’m not wild about the more juniper-y gins).
French 75 Variations
If you’re looking for more creative spins on a standard French 75, don’t miss my Clementine French 75 and Earl Grey French 75. You’ll also appreciate the Elderflower Champagne Cocktail in my cookbook (page 127).
Watch How to Make Classic French 75 Cocktails
Please let me know how your French 75 cocktails turn out in the comments! I hope they’re perfectly delightful.
Want to change it up? For a similar lemony gin flavor profile, try the Bee’s Knees cocktail or Tom Collins. If you’re looking to branch out a bit further, don’t miss my fizzy classic mimosas or Moscow mules. Cheers!
Classic French 75 Cocktail
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 1 cocktail 1x
- Category: Cocktail
- Method: By hand
- Cuisine: French
Classic French 75 cocktails are easy to make at home with this recipe! The French 75 is a refreshing and citrusy, sparkling gin cocktail that packs a punch.
- 1 ½ ounces gin
- ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice (about ¾ medium lemon)
- ¾ ounce simple syrup (recipe follows)
- 2 to 3 ounces chilled Champagne (enough to top the glass)
- Lemon peel, for garnish
Simple syrup (yields enough for 5 cocktails, scale as necessary)
- ¼ cup honey or sugar
- ¼ cup water
- To make the simple syrup: Combine the honey (or sugar) and water in a small saucepan. Warm over medium heat, whisking occasionally, just until the honey or sugar has disappeared into the water. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool.
- To make a cocktail (you can make multiple drinks at once): Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup. Securely fasten the cap on the shaker and shake until well chilled, about 20 seconds. Strain the liquid into Champagne glasses and top with Champagne.
- Twist your lemon peel and hold it for a few seconds to retain the shape. Garnish your glass with the lemon twist, and enjoy this drink while it’s cold!
Measurement tips: 1 ½ ounces is 3 tablespoons, and ¾ ounce is 1 ½ tablespoons.
Make it vegan: Use vegan sugar instead of honey.
Make it gluten free: I found Hendrick’s on a list of gluten-free gins, but you might double-check to be sure.
Change it up: Any fresh citrus juice will work here. Clementine or blood orange juice is fun. You could also use St. Germain elderflower liqueur in place of the simple syrup (in which case, I’d stick with lemon as the citrus).
Recommended equipment: I love this citrus juicer for squeezing limes and lemons, and this stainless steel jigger for measuring small amounts of liquid. (Those are affiliate links.)
These are much better if you use 1/2oz of St. Germain Elderflower Liquor instead of the simple syrup. Gives it a depth of flavor you don’t get with simple syrup.
Same here!! I make mine with St. Germaine, too. I also serve them on the rocks to “slow them down” since they go down so easily! I’m making mine tonight..a Merry Christmas, indeed! ;)
Thank you, Kathye for sharing your variation!
What type of Champagne do you recommend? I have been buying more Proseccos lately and am not as familiar with picking out champagnes- figured I should go with an actual champagne here, since it is a French cocktail.
Hi Marcy! You could get by with Prosecco here, but you’re right, there is something special about true Champagne flavor. :) I’d go for a brut Champagne that is not too pricey, since we’re adding other flavors to it. I’m struggling to think of a winemaker to suggest, but I’m sure your local liquor store could help!
Never acquired a taste for alcohol like a proper adult. But the snap of Cookie is adorable! :)
She is a cutie! Thanks, Susan.
I agree that Hendrick’s > Beefeater for this drink. I have made it many times and strongly prefer Hendrick’s.
It’s so good!
Such a perfect NYE cocktail! LOVE the garnish
This cocktail is very refreshing and i loved it
thank you for sharing
I’m happy to hear it! Thank you for your review, Parth.
Amir Najam Sethit
Interesting post… I definitely do this cocktail at home. Thank you for sharing this amazing cocktail.
Try it with cognac or brandy instead of gin. It’s my favorite cocktail.
French 75s are my favorite cocktail, and really the only one I have, as I usually enjoy wine. I go to a favorite restaurant and they make a terrific French 75. Instead of simply squeezing the lemon juice into the glass, they muddle some lemon slices right in the glass and leave them at the bottom of the cocktail! The lemon burst is incredible! A variation I thought you might like. Also, they serve it with ice, though would probably strain it if asked. But this makes it especially refreshing on a hot summer evening. Enjoy!
Thanks for sharing, Mary!
Light, fresh and perfect. I added rosemary for garnish.
The original French 75 as made in France, 1920, was made with cognac not gin.
Yes, the classic is made with cognac,not gin
What to say….it talks about itself quite alone…:))
I made this cocktail in my recycled cocktail bar at home this week. It was really delicious. I have made a video of it and also taken a photo so will be sure to tag you when I post them @thecocktailvibe I didn’t have any honey so used the simple syrup but will be sure to try it with honey next time. I used Gin d’Azur from the south of France as it has great flavours of lemon, thyme and lavender. I like the way you gave the history of the drink. Cheers, Alex
I love that you have a bunch of gluten free options, or ways to check that recipes are gluten free. We are still madly in love with your buckwheat pancake recipe now that we know we have a gluten allergy in the house!
A touch of maple syrup (in place of the simple syrup) makes a lovely ‘French-Canadian 75’
We used store bought simple syrup but they turned out great! We also added a few cubes of ice as well. Delicious! Thanks for sharing this recipe.
You’re welcome, B!
Another tip re: honey in cocktails: add it to the lemon juice, heat briefly in the microwave (in a glass container) and then mix thoroughly while warm before adding to the shaker. This is how I make a Bee’s Knees and I’m going to try it tonight with the French 75.
So delicious! It has become a New Year’s Eve tradition.
We are looking forward to ringing in 2021 with this classic cocktail.
I love it! Happy New Year, Susan.
Great recipe! FYI the second link at the beginning of your article gives a 404 error now, might want to update/remove it :)
Hi, Sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, I can’t control third party links. I will take a look!
Thanks for a great drink recipe, Kate! It was so delicious, my new favorite drink.
You’re welcome, Janet! Happy you enjoyed it.
Thanks Kate for your recipe. I followed your instructions exactly and served to my daughter Kate, her husband and my wife for Kate’s birthday this Labor Day Weekend. It was excellent and loved by all! Also, I made the honey simple syrup you suggested as well as Hendricks gin and they made a difference. Thanks again. This recipe is a keeper!
Wonderful, Thomas! Thank you for your review.
Just made and am drinking right now! It is divine! I will make at least one more each for me and the spouse.
For the sparkling, I used Fleuraison Blanc De Blanc. It is a good value yet has a lot of tasting notes in common with more famous and expensive sparklers (especially those bready notes).
The gin I used is called Empress 1908. Butterfly Pea Blossom gives it a delicate floral note as well as a vivid dark blue color. But add lemon juice and shake with ice and the citrus turns it a delicate violet which looks beautiful in a flute.
Because I recently candied a ton of lemon and orange peel, I reserved the remaining syrup to use for cocktails. I made it a rich simple by using a 2-1 sugar to water ratio. This stuff will not spoil. And it has a light citrus note to it. Worked great in this cocktail!
I added a light dash of angostura bitters. Also, I put the gin, simple syrup, lemon juice and bitters into the shaker before adding the ice to prevent dilution.
I appreciate you sharing how you made this, Katherine! I appreciate your review.
Also, your dog is such a cutie! If you had him on some restaurant or taproom patio and I was there I would be at your table, tipsy but hesitant asking if I could scritch his ears!
This is definitely the classic version. I too use St. Germaine (1/2 oz) and prefer Hendricks. Tanquerey is also a winner. Lately I’ve been making my wife’s quaff with Tanquerey 0.0. Champagne is wonderful, but considering the cost, any sparkling wine will do. Just change the name with the origin: Italian 75, Spanish 75 etc. But take it from am old soldier: the namesake French 75 was the deadliest field cannon on line in WWI.
Delicious. Everyone enjoyed!
I’ve spent so much time searching for an appealing punch recipe to make next weekend for my 70th! It’s spring (March), so wanted light, with Prosecco and a spirit. No pineapple or sugar. I love this French 75 recipe – will opt for honey for the simple syrup – but am daunted at the thought of figuring out out to translate your ingredient amounts for a single cocktail into a punch serving 20 guests!