Story by Andy Ratcliff. Email him firstname.lastname@example.org
I must confess that I’ve never liked this drink. It’s just a fizzy gin sour served in a flute and it’s made me stare lustfully at beer taps instead of a fix of fermented bread water. That is, of course, until I found out the correct method of preparation. It changed everything.
Ten years ago, my favourite bartender, Jeffrey Morganthaler (formerly of Clyde Common, Portland), posted a video online describing the second iteration of the drink. It contained 30ml gin, 30ml lemon juice, 15ml sugar syrup, Shake it and pour it into a Collins glass with cracked ice and top it with champagne. It’s essentially a Tom Collins with Champagne instead of soda water and it’s a damn fine drink for the middle of summer. It’s a sleeper of a classic cocktail.
“It was a French bartender in 1915, Henry Tepe, of Henry’s Bar in Paris who named it the ‘Soixante-Quinze’ (Seventy-Five). There are several different recipes over the last hundred years which call for ingredients like applejack, grenadine, calvados and even absinthe…”
The French 75 is named after a badass gun that was used in World War One to shoot the crap out of tanks and aircraft. It was a mechanical pipe dream used in the war against Germany.
It was a French bartender in 1915, Henry Tepe, of Henry’s Bar in Paris who named it the ‘Soixante-Quinze’ (Seventy-Five). There are several different recipes over the last hundred years which call for ingredients like applejack, grenadine, calvados and even absinthe but the most enduring and the real mainstay is that of gin, lemon, sugar and Champagne. You read that right. Not that stale, horse-piss house sparkling reminiscent of a western suburbs baby shower. Champagne!
The glass changed from a coupe to a Collins (in the 1920’s) then to a flute at some stage between the 1930’s and the 1980’s. And what a shame that was because this drink has devolved into a bastardized version of something that used to be great.
It’s great to play with different styles of gin with this one. A lot of Australian gins can dramatically change the flavour profile and if lemon sherbet or oleo saccharum are your thing, they can add a zesty kick to the drink.
So next time you’re looking for something to wow your guests on a disgustingly hot day in the Australian heat, try this out. I’m sure you’ll be converted. Santé!