|The French 75|
|Written by Eileen Forster Keck|
According to The Savoy Cocktail Book (ca. 1930), it "hits with remarkable precision". It does, like the 75 mm gun that gave its name to the concoction—the French 75 is delicious and dangerous.
The history of this cocktail is a murky one. Most sources agree that it was mixed for the first time around WWI. A print recipe showed up in 1919, with a now partly-illegal ingredients list—absinthe, Calvados, and gin. One story has it that a champagne version was born in Paris, at Harry’s Bar in 1925, but if so, Harry never claimed it in print.
Nowadays there are two generally accepted versions:
1. Cognac, fresh lemon juice, a bit of sugar (or simple syrup) and Champagne, or
My personal preference is for the cognac version—it marries particularly well with Champagne—but the gin variety is palatable too. As always, the quality of your ingredients is the key when mixing a cocktail. This is not an economy drink!
Choose a decent non-vintage cognac—I recommend Hennessey VSOP at least (or Bombay Sapphire gin)—and use real Champagne—again, non-vintage. If you can't afford Veuve Clicquot or something similar, get a good, dry sparkling wine, perhaps something out of California. Stay away from Cold Duck and Asti Spumanti.
In any case, it’s a wonderful tipple, and a nice choice for a celebration. Champagne and Valentine’s Day go together.
The French 75
Shake the first three ingredients with clean, dry ice. Pour out into two cocktail glasses, and fill the remaining space with Champagne. Stir gently.