The French 75+
Today we are celebrating with champagne because it is my birthday and I LOVE champagne!! Champagne represents elegant, festive fun and what better drink to add a little mystery to the party than the French 75.
A classic Champagne cocktail, the French 75, is commonly altered from the original, and even cocktail historians disagree on what the original was and what the history is behind it. Some say the drink was named after the French 75 gun used in World War I, and its creation is credited to American army officers. It is said that the casings of 75-millimeter shells made good drinking cups. Others say that French flying Ace Raoul Lufbery dreamed up the French 75.
Raoul loved his champagne, but wanted a drink with more intensity to it. Cognac proved to be a natural addition due to its availability at the time. Cognac is also complementary to champagne since they both are derived from grapes. The cocktail packs a punch, thus is named for the noted French World War I Artillery gun, the 75mm howitzer, otherwise known as a French 75. Although its roots began with the French flying ace, its popularity soared in America at the famous Stork Club in New York City.
In his book “Straight Up or On the Rocks: The Story of the American Cocktail” (North Point Press; $12), William Grimes writes, “The drink was originally compounded of Cognac, lime or lemon juice, and simple syrup,” but his accompanying recipe calls for gin instead of the Cognac. In “The Craft of the Cocktail” (Clarkson Potter; $35), cocktail expert Dale DeGroff writes, “The recipe originally called for gin, but it became more popular using brandy,” and his recipe lists brandy as the hard alcohol.
According to several books and Web sites, the French 75, when made with brandy or Cognac (Cognac is brandy produced in the Cognac region of France), should actually be called the French 125. When made with bourbon, it is called the French 95.
Some recipes call for the cocktail to be poured over ice but I think that after the first couple of sips, the cocktail loses its zip! The ice melts and waters down the flavors and this champagne cocktail was meant to pack a punch to the end.
Recipe for 2:
3 oz Hennessy cognac
2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp agave nectar or simple syrup
12 oz Brut Champagne
Combine Hennessy, lemon juice, and agave nectar/simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled one third full of ice.
Shake thoroughly for ten to fifteen seconds.
Strain into a chilled champagne flute or martini glass. Top off with champagne. Garnish with lemon twist.
Let the history be a mystery and create your own story. Celebrate!
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 1
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Total Carbohydrates 8g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
- 3 oz Hennessy cognac
- 2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp agave nectar or simple syrup
- 12 oz Brut Champagne
- Combine Hennessy, lemon juice, and agave nectar/simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled one third full of ice.
- Shake thoroughly for ten to fifteen seconds.
- Strain into a chilled champagne flute or martini glass. Top off with champagne. Garnish with lemon twist.
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