French 75 (cocktail)

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French 75
IBA Official Cocktail
French 75.jpg
Type Wine cocktail
Primary alcohol by volume
Standard drinkware
Flute Glass.svg
Champagne flute
IBA specified ingredients*
  • 3cl Cognac or gin
  • 2 dashes simple syrup
  • 1.5cl lemon juice
  • 6cl Champagne
Preparation Combine Cognac, syrup, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled champagne glass. Top up with Champagne. Stir gently.

French 75 is a cocktail made from Cognac or gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and sugar. It is also called a 75 Cocktail, or in French simply a Soixante Quinze (Seventy Five).

The drink dates to World War I, and an early form was created in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris—later Harry's New York Bar—by barman Harry MacElhone. The combination was said to have such a kick that it felt like being shelled with the powerful French 75mm field gun.


When French and American members of the Lafayette Escadrille battalion had leave from the trenches, they frequented the bar at the Hotel Chatham in Paris. There they celebrated their victories with Champagne and cognac and named the mixture (mingled with lemon and sugar) after the French army's 75 mm. field gun.

The drink (with its current name and recipe) developed over the 1920s, though similar drinks date to the 19th century. In the 19th century, the Champagne cup was a popular cocktail, consisting of champagne, lemon juice, sugar, and ice. Gin was sometimes added, yielding a drink much like the French 75.[1]

The drink was first recorded as the 75 in Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails, 1922 edition, by Harry MacElhone, and in the same year in Robert Vermeire's Cocktails: How to Mix Them, which credits the drink to MacElhone.[2] However, the recipes differed from the current form – MacElhone's version consisted of Calvados, gin, grenadine, and absinthe, while Vermeire added lemon juice.[2]

The recipe took its now-classic form in Here's How, by Judge Jr. (1927), consisting of gin, sugar, lemon juice, and champagne. This recipe was republished with the embellished name French 75 in The Savoy Cocktail Book (1930). The French 75 was popularized in America at the Stork Club in New York. It appears in the movie Casablanca (1942) and is referenced twice in the John Wayne films A Man Betrayed (1941) and Jet Pilot (1957). In 2016, it appears in the PBS Series, Mr. Selfridge, which is set in London in the 1910s and 1920s.

A fanciful alternative story of the invention of the French 75 was related by Jean Shepherd on November 17, 1969, wherein he credits Gervais Raoul Lufbery as the inventor. The mixture, as related by Shepherd, is Champagne and Cognac on ice with perhaps a twist of lemon.[3] This version is not credible, given the documented earlier version.