Happy 75th: Have a French 75 to toast the big birthday

By on July 12, 2013

Those three quarter century birthdays only come around once.  Around here,  we like to pull out all the stops when one of our friends hits the big 75.  To that end,  we will go out to dinner,  have multiple celebrations,  and  to really celebrate,  perhaps pour French 75’s,  the venerable champagne-gin cocktail,  made wonderful by using top shelf liquor.

Ever wonder why the French 75 was called that and where it came from?  Like most cocktails,  it has New York roots.  By way of Paris, in this case.  But I have to tell you this drink is only as good as the spirits you start with.  We had a pretty puny one at a 4 star restaurant last night, but if you make it at home and use best quality spirits,  you’ll get a real kick in the pants and you won’t even mind.

The drink was, in fact,  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, also called a “75 Cocktail”, or “Soixante Quinze” in French. The French 75 was popularized in America at the Stork Club in New York.

For each drink:

1 oz Tanqueray gin
1/2 oz. simple syrup (or 2 tsp. superfine sugar)
1/2 oz.fresh  lemon juice
Tattingers Brut Champagne or other dry sparkling wine

fresh raspberry garnish

Combine gin, sugar, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into an iced champagne glass. Fill with Champagne. Garnish with a raspberry or twist of lemon.

For birthday celebrations feel free to make these by the pitcher full.

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About Linda Eckhardt

Linda West Eckhardt, is an award winning journalist, food writer, and nutritionist. Her more than 20 cookbooks have garnered prizes including the James Beard prize for the best cookbook for a text she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Their next book, The High Protein Cookbook, Clarkson Potter, remains a best seller after 12 years. That book was designed to accompany low carb diet plans. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child award. Her award winning radio work with Jennifer English, for a national show on the Food and Wine radio network, was nominated for a James Beard Prize for a show called, “I Know What You Ate Last Summer.”