The Bartender Suggests a Cocktail for New Year’s Eve: The French 75

With New Year’s Eve upon us, our thoughts turn to reflections on the passing year, hopes for the coming one, and, of course, Champagne.  But I must confess, as one who enjoys mixing and serving cocktails almost as much as I enjoy drinking them, the act of merely popping and pouring a bottle of Champagne (or a nice domestic sparkling wine, for those of us who aren’t snooty) feels like it lacks something.  I personally love the anticipation of making a cocktail:  Laying out my bar tools, selecting perfectly-ripe citrus fruit, lining up the bottles, and my most favorite part, hearing the clatter of a scoop-full of ice hitting the bottom of my shaker.  Serving Champagne deprives me of all of this.

Until now.

French 75

French 75

One of the things I love about cocktails is that many of the great ones come to us with a colorful past.  Through the ages, people have tweaked and fiddled with spirits and ingredients as they sought to create great-tasting drinks, and the best recipes live on today with interesting names and stories.  Recently, good friends of ours introduced the Hostess and me to a Champagne-based cocktail known as the French 75.  This concoction, dating back to World War One and named for a devastatingly-powerful 75mm cannon developed by the French army, is to me the perfect cocktail for a festive celebration:  A nice pour of Champagne for those guests who simply must have a glass of bubbly to complement their New Year’s toast, combined with a bit of preparing, measuring, and shaking that satisfies my inner bartender’s desire to create something rather than just filling glasses straight from the bottle.  Plus there’s an added bonus in that it uses three of my favorite ingredients, namely gin, Cointreau, and fresh lemons.  And finally, this cocktail gets the Hostess’s seal of approval as being both “sexy and glamorous.”  Wow!  What’s not to love?

I suggest making a resolution to break ever so slightly from the norm during your New Year’s party.  Offer up this cocktail as an alternative to a plain-Jane glass of bubbles.  Just remember to caution your imbibers that, like the vintage gun it’s named for, the French 75 can deliver quite a wallop.


Click here to get the recipe

P.S.  One more thing to love about this cocktail is that it most definitely does not call for expensive Champagne.  On the contrary, it’s a spectacular way to serve the bottle of Cook’s that your buddy’s going to pick up on sale on his way to your party!

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