The French 75 Cocktail – Cognac version please.

The French 75

Renovation and reinvention really work up quite a thirst. Since we are nearly finished with our new Sis Boom “look and feel” I thought it was time to celebrate with a bit of champagne. If you know me you know that I rarely require arm twisting to open a bottle. Is it someone’s birthday? Hey lets open a bottle and celebrate! Oh, its tomorrow? Hey, lets open it now anyway!I always have a bottle of the good stuff ready in our refrigerator for any and every occasion that comes along. Doing so was the only one of my grandma’s “rules for living” that ever made sense to me so i choose to honor her memory by obeying at least this one. Is there an awards show on television now and I don’t really know who the nominees are but they are wearing great outfits on the red carpet? Great! Go get the Vueve and lets join the party! I’ll even break out the bubbly when I am happy about making a really good mac and cheese.
So either I have just never been the type to save champagne for a special occasion or my definition of a special occasion is more relaxed than other people’s. My suspicion is that I am equally afflicted with both tendencie
s. It doesn’t really matter as long as Madame Cliquot makes enough of her special recipe to ensure there are no shortages. Champagne can’t make a party if its still sitting in the refrigerator or sitting at the market. Set it free!
One thing I have been somewhat resistant to is mixing an otherwise good champagne with juices and liqueurs. It seems borderline cruel to me. Why would you do this to an otherwise perfectly good champagne that has done nothing to harm you?

It is true there are occasions such as the all-you-can-drink-champagne brunch where he swill that they try to pass off for champagne will require you to douse it with a heavy pour of orange juice. Often it is the only way you can avoid retching while getting that alcohol in your bloodstream. Under these circumstances mixing OJ into the bubbly is not cruelty but rather an act of self-defense.

Any good champagne minding its own business while not harming anyone should never be treated this way. Ever. Almost. Well, maybe. OK, It might be just fine if you do it right. Read on:
One way to say no to champagne cruelty is to say ‘no’ to the all-you-can-drink-champagne hampagne brunches that feature it. (It is probably not real champagne anyway.) Either pony up for a real bottle of champagne or just order a Bloody Mary from the bar instead. (Kettle One please!)
The Mimosa as you should have guessed by now is pretty much a no-go with me as pure bubbly is my preference. I’m a purist!

Then I discovered the French 75 . Its sophisticated cooperation of ingredients forced me to rethink my whole ‘champagne purist’ credential. This cocktail is much more than the usual and unwelcome interference of juice with an otherwise perfect beverage. These ingredients take champagne’s electric flavors to an entirely new dimension without destroying them altogether. (Hello mimosa. I’m talking about you!)

French flying ace Raoul Lufbery was a man who apparently really loved champagne and didn’t want to hurt it. He developed the French 75 and named it for a WW I artillery gun: a 75mm howitzer. Get it? French 75!
If you aren’t careful both the cocktail and the gun have the power to knock you down to the ground. This of course makes it the perfect beverage with which to toast my new French bistro meets turn-of-the-century saloon blog look. Cheers everyone!

Every time I enjoy one of these I end up enjoying several so forgive me if I was understandably foggy as to some its specifics.

I checked myself in over at The Intoxicologist blog and put myself in the care of its beautiful proprietres Cheri Laughlin – a true sorceress of mixology . I knew she would answer any lingering doubts I had as to how to mix this one up. She herself is the inventor of some pretty astounding cocktails which she generously shares along with some well thought out commentary and actual database research on some of the more classic cocktails of the world. As expected she cleared up any residual doubts I had about the ingredients and proportions required to celebrate with a proper French 75! (Cognac please, no gin.)
I hope you will go visit her!

The French 75

The French 75

The French 75

The French 75

This is what you will need:

  • 1-1/2 ounce Courvoisier cognac
  • 1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce bar syrup (I used 1.5x simple syrup, perhaps a tad less)
  • Dry champagne
  • Orange twist for garnish

This is how you make it:

  1. Combine cognac, lemon juice, and bar syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly for ten to fifteen seconds. Strain into a chilled champagne flute. Top off with champagne. Garnish with orange twist. If making multiples you can use a cocktail glass to pre-mix all ingredients except champagne. Be sure the mixture is well chilled and then pour 2 1/2 ounces of mixture into each glass and top with champagne.


About Trevor Kensey

To be truthful, I don't know what “Sis. Boom. [blog!]" means either. The name implies something explosive just happened I suppose I would like it if each post would make made a small 'boom' in your day or at least a fizzle. Even though a recipe is included with every post I have a hard time calling this a "food blog" or even myself a "food blogger".

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  1. It’s ten in the morning here. I need a champagne. I’ll get to that as soon as I finish my latte….

  2. Cheers, Trevor! Sounds great. We also always have a bottle of the good stuff chilled – you never know when you’re going to feel like celebrating a particulary beautiful sunset or day’s work! And, I love the new look – that’s my next step in blogging to figure out how to design my own stuff – what software did you use?

  3. Oh great. A champagne named after a weapon of destruction (mass or singly). A great toast to your new look – it “looks” great! And well worth the price of this… maybe even the Vueve! Cheers!

  4. I love this drink, both with cognac and (don’t panic!) gin. I didn’t think I would like it with gin but then a fantastic bartender in New Orleans mixed one up for me, and I don’t argue with NOLA bartenders! There is something so fun and sophisticated about this drink, I just want to put on my red lipstick and sip it and make grand pronouncements and be fabulous. Or, alas, just”fabulous.”

  5. Take risks, ask for help and celebrate with champagne! I heard this quote recently and it quickly became my motto for 2011. I love the new blog look!

  6. Wow. I like mimosas, but I agree that the champagne flavor is a bit roughed and masked by the orange juice. This mixture looks interesting. I’ll have to try it. Btw, my sister took a look at your apple version of beggar’s linguine and loved it!

  7. Love love love the new look! I’m working on a list of my “40 things to do before I turn 40” and may have to chronicle the results on my blog…same old space..or maybe a new space.

    If you are ever in Nashville, you must stop & visit my brother @ his bar (Rumba) incredible, inventive cocktails…he also does some mixology consulting for St. Germaine and Inocente Tequila.

  8. Anonymous says:

    French 75 is da bomb. Or da large artillery shell. Whatever.


  9. Eugene Jacques Bullard says:

    I’ve loved French Sevety-fives ever since my first encounter with them in the movie ‘Casablanca’, when Yvonne orders French Seventy-fives from Sascha for the bar! A truly remarkable drink, just don’t try standing up to quickly after a few to drown out the Germans with ‘La Marseillaise”!

  10. So many cocktail recipes these days require rare or fussy ingredients. This sounds stellar and simple.

  11. Twin!!!! This is my ALL time favorite drink. I have to giggle that you just blogged it. Funny. B:)

  12. Anonymous says:

    new reader here…can’t wait to read more, but have to say … i have never had a french 75 with cognac. i will try it, but i usually follow robert hess on all drink matters.

  13. Looks fantastic. I can’t wait to try it myself.