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Did You This Classic Cocktail Is Named After A Deadly Weapon?

French 75 cocktail

French 75, a classic cocktail known for being strong is widely popular and served in bars across the world. Have you ever wondered why it is called French 75? Of course, its Parisian origins might have led to the 'French' word in its name. But where does the 75 come from? Does it signify a year, or amount of an ingredient? It's actually neither. The powerful drink gets its name from an equally or more dangerous weapon that was used in the early 20th century.

How French 75 Got Its Name

During World War I (1914 -1918), France had a deadly weapon that gave it an upper hand against its enemies –- the French 75-millimetre light field gun. It was a formidable weapon, capable of firing 15 rounds per minute, anti-aircraft through to anti-tank. During the war, an incredible 21,000 guns and 200 million shells were manufactured.

Since mixologists tend to name cocktails after people and events in the news, this gun, which made headlines in the press and became a symbol of hope in the war against Germany, was used to name a new potent cocktail. During that period, the gun was called Canon de 75 modèle 1897, but better known as the Soixante-Quinze (Seventy-Five). William Philip Simms, an American reporter working in Paris, wrote in March 1915: 'Should France issue victorious from the present war, her success will have been due, more than any one other thing to her "Soixante-quinze:' her famous rapid fire, explosive shell, seventy-five millimetre cannon.'

French 75 cocktail

Thus, when a French bartender, possibly Henry Tépé of Henry's Bar in Paris created a potent cocktail, he named it Soixante-Quinze (Seventy-Five) during the war period. Many notable figures of that time compared the potency of the cocktail to the gun with phrases like 'both knock you flat'. British novelist Alec Waugh called the cocktail 'the most powerful drink in the world', Harry Craddock in his recipe book The Savoy Cocktail Book said the drink 'hits with remarkable precision'. Eventually, the drink started to be called the '75' cocktail and later came to be known as the 'French 75'. But it wasn't only the name of the drink that had changed over the years. The recipe for it saw many tweakings, with gin being the only consistent ingredient.

French 75's recipe changed many times throughout the decades. And there have been several riffs on it as well. But in today's age, it's usually made with one part gin, three-part champagne,  lemon juice and simple syrup, a potent drink that still earns its name. Check out the detailed recipe below.

French 75 (classic recipe)


30 ml Gordon gin
15 ml Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
15 ml Simple syrup
90 ml Champagne (or other sparkling wine)
Lemon twist, for garnish


Take a shaker with ice and add the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup. Shake until the contents are well-chilled. Strain into a Champagne flute. Top with Champagne or any other sparkling wine. Garnish with lemon twist and serve.

While it's great to learn about making alcoholic beverages and learn about their history, it is important to consume alcohol moderately. Remember to serve and drink responsibly to ensure you and your guests are healthy and out of harm's way. If you know anyone who has trouble controlling their alcohol intake, please refer them to a professional immediately.


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