The French 75, ever heard of it? The classique French cocktail dates back to World War I. An early rendition of the drink allegedly first appeared at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, and was stirred into reality by bartender (and eventual bar owner) Harry MacElhone sometime around 1915. MacElhone is also credited with creating the Bloody Mary.
A French 75, at its most elemental, is made from gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and a splash of champagne. A combination so potent it’s said to feel like being shot at by a French 75mm field gun. Drab name? Maybe. Delicious cocktail? For sure.
With citrus season in full swing, and an overabundance of varieties to choose from, our test kitchen chef, Josh, paid this century-old recipe a visit. Rather, a revisit. Out goes the lemon juice, and in its place the sweeter, spunkier blood orange. It not only brings with it a more approachable taste, but a deep, inviting hue as well. Instead of a simple syrup, try honey. The same sweetness carries over with a warmer, less cloying lift.
The sell here is elegance without sacrificing ease. The ingredients list is laughably simple and with just a squeeze, a pour, and a spritz, it all comes together vividly. Feel free to prep the juice a few hours before serving and store in the refrigerator, for the sake of convenience. Combine everything into a glass, then garnish with a curl of a blood orange zest upon serving.
- 6 ounces gin
- 6 ounces freshly squeezed blood orange juice
- 3 ounces honey
- Chilled sparkling wine
- Curls of orange zest, for garnish (optional)
How do you update a classic cocktail? Let us know some of your mixes in the comments below.