French 75 cocktail (sounds like a French song, doesn’t it?) has been making headlines for quite a while now for its taste, just as many other cocktails. Who knew you could make something so heavenly at home by using gin, champagne, and lemon juice? You don’t need to be a professional bartender or someone who is known for serving great drinks to come up with a French 75. All you need is some gin, some champagne and some lemon juice.
If you want to make your own French 75 at home, one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is what gin you’re going to use. The best gins for a French 75 are ones that play nicely with other ingredients and add nice flavor without being too spicy or herbaceous.
We have listed the best gins you can use while making this cocktail at home with an eye on quality and taste.
About the French 75
The French 75 is a gin-based champagne cocktail and one of the most refreshing drinks you can mix up. It's also a great way to get a buzz in front of your stuffy friends and family. This classic cocktail was created during WWI at the New York Bar in Paris, which later became Harry's New York Bar, where it was first named after the French 75mm field gun. The drink rose to popularity during Prohibition when Harry's Bar opened in New York City.
If you've never had this cocktail before, you should know that it's delicious and a little but dangerous. If you're not paying attention, you'll be under the table before you know it. One sip at a time.
What to look for when choosing a gin
The gin you use in your French 75 makes a difference. The best gins for this cocktail are ones with big, robust flavors, since this drink is often served as an aperitif before dinner.
In the United States, London dry gins are most common, but they can vary widely in style. Some have bright citrus notes, while others are earthy and juniper-forward. Your choice will depend on your own personal taste and what you plan to pair it with — some gins work better with certain foods than others.
A good rule of thumb is to use the same gin you'd use in a martini. It will be a London Dry style, meaning it's made from juniper and other botanicals, with very little sugar added to the spirit.
The juniper flavor makes the gin taste like Christmas trees or pine cones. It's also what gives it that characteristic "ginny" quality.
Some examples of London Dry gins are Tanqueray, Beefeater and Bombay Sapphire. Any of these would make a great French 75!
Bombay Sapphire Gin
The French 75 is one of those traditional cocktails that's very easy to create, except for one thing: if you're using gin, it's essential to get a gin that adds a nice dimension of flavor to the cocktail. Bombay Sapphire Gin is a premium English-distilled gin best recognized for its striking blue bottle.
Bombay Sapphire Gin has a captivating scent and is crystal-clear with a luscious, medium-weight texture. Bombay Sapphire is brimming with a crisp, mouth-watering taste that lingers on the palate for a delightful finish, thanks to a superb combination of citrus, spice, and juniper.
It's a bartender's favorite gin to use in a French 75 because of the subtle citrus notes and spice, enhanced by the botanicals, which compliment the other components in the cocktail and lend a delightful character to the drink. Some gins can be buried in a French 75, but Bombay Sapphire complements the other flavors well.
Beefeater London Dry Gin
A well deserved reputation for both quality and consistency, Beefeater London Dry Gin is a juniper-forward style of gin from the British distiller James Burrough. It's full-bodied, with crisp citrus notes sitting alongside more traditional gin flavors of pine and cassia.
This gin's aroma is typical of a London dry gin. Immediately noticeable juniper and citrus scents. There are additional traces of pepper, coriander, and a delicate sweetness from angelica root. On the palate, it starts with a strong juniper flavor followed by citrus. There's a tinge of licorice and finishes off with some spice.
For cocktails, Beefeater London Dry Gin is an excellent choice. This gin mixes well with tonic water to make a classic gin and tonic cocktail served over ice.
Aviation American Gin
Aviation American gin is the perfect gin for a French 75 — its botanical aromas of juniper and lemon allow it to complement the other elements in your glass. With Aviation Gin, you can make the perfect French 75 and show off to your guests.
Instead of being overpowered by juniper, which some find "harsh" or "medicinal," Aviation's botanical notes, cardamom, coriander, French lavender, anise seed, sarsaparilla, and juniper, complement each other nicely and provide the habitual drinker with a truly pleasant sip each time.
Aviation is a delicious gin executed right and the result is a New Western Style Gin that shakes up the status quo of what constitutes traditional gin. Aviation's taste profile is perfect for a dry, crisp effervescence, like a French 75.
Tanqueray No. Ten Gin
Giuseppe Cipriani invented the French 75 at Harry’s Bar in Paris back in 1915, so it’s safe to say that we don’t mess around when it comes to this classic cocktail. It’s a celebration in a glass, if you will. So when choosing the perfect gin for it, there’s only one option – Tanqueray No. TEN Gin.
What makes this gin so remarkable? It has a bright, citrus flavor and a clean, dry finish that is beautifully rounded. And thanks to the use of fresh white grapefruits, limes and oranges in its production process, its notes of grapefruit and orange peel complement those found in other cocktail ingredients beautifully – making Tanqueray No. TEN Gin is just right for helping any classic cocktail taste just like it should.
Plymouth Original Gin
The Plymouth gin is one of the first gins to be produced in the UK. Plymouth's unique blend of 7 botanicals is distilled in a single copper pot still and has been doing so since 1793.
This gin initially seems like your typical London Dry-style gin, with powerful juniper and citrus on the nose. But you get a whole lot more going on when you taste it: herbal spice and nuance from the cardamom and orris root, plus an earthy sweetness from the angelica root.
It is perfect for cocktails such as a Gin & Tonic or a French 75, or even sipping on its own with a large ice cube or two.
Nikka Coffey Gin
From the northern island of Hokkaido comes a style of gin quite unlike others: Nikka Coffey Gin.
This Japanese gin is made in a column still, the same type of still that is used in the production of Bourbon and Rye. It is as herbaceous as it is floral, with a clean taste that works well in a cocktail with effervescence.
The unique flavors of this Japanese gin unlock a new dimension to the classic French 75. With citric yuzu, cherry blossom, and peppery kombu, this may be the perfect spirit for your next cocktail.
How to Make a French 75
The French 75 cocktail is a classic. It has three ingredients and it’s easy to make. The recipe below makes one drink, but you can easily multiply it if you want to make more.
- 1 1/2 oz gin
- 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 oz simple syrup (1:1 sugar-water)
- 1 bottle of champagne or sparkling wine
- Lemon twist for garnish
Combine the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled champagne flute. Add the champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.