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How to make a French 75 (or rather, an Australian 75)

The combination of bubbles, gin and a touch of sugar equals a classy cocktail.

By Georgie Meredith
  • Serves 1
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A hard-hitting concoction of Champagne and gin, the French 75, or Soixante Quinze, is the classiest of cocktails, with herbal notes and a tart citrus twist.
Harry MacElhone, the legendary Scottish-born bartender responsible for making Harry's New York Bar in Paris a cultural phenomenon, is said to have created the drink in the 1920s. The first printed recipe can be found in his drinks bible, Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails, where he calls for it to be served in a highball glass.
Fuelled by booze, lemon and sugar, the effervescent elixir was said to bring such a kick that it was like being shelled by a Howitzer 75mm field gun, used by the French in World War I, hence its name.
With appearances in silver screen classics, such as Casablanca and Jet Pilot, the sophisticated drink has earned pride of place on cocktail menus around the world and is just the ticket when Champagne alone will not suffice.
While traditionalists call for Champagne, we like to give the cocktail an Aussie twist by using local sparkling wine. Ergo, the Australian 75 cocktail, recipe below.

Ingredients

  • 30 ml gin
  • 20 ml lemon juice
  • 10 ml simple syrup (see note)
  • Sparkling wine
  • Lemon peel, to serve

Method

  • 1
    Combine gin, lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker, then add ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled Champagne flute and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel and serve.

Notes

To make simple syrup, simmer one part water and one part sugar and stir until sugar is completely dissolved.