The French 75 cocktail is one of those special drinks where everyone had a story about its origins. The French 75 was given a run for its sizable name and fame and 100 years post its invention, the tussle as to who was the first to create this darling of the prohibition era is still an ongoing debate! We’ve put together a couple of fables, you choose which suits this kicker cocktail’s infamous past.
The ‘It was drunk out of 75-millimeter ammunition shells’ fable.
It was created during WWI by allied soldiers and as the story goes, was named after the infamous French 75-millimeter light field gun – ‘Soixante-quinze’, heralded by many as the winner of WWI. This section of the fable becomes mighty formidable – apparently, the drink was concocted by the allies who’d stumbled across vacant cellars of sparkling wines and mixed the newly found bubbles with the British gin. Having no suitably fine glassware, using the spent ammunition shells as vessels seemed the optimum choice.
Shared by the allied forces, the French 75 cocktail was a team triumph, mixing the British gins with French champagnes – jolly good & magnifique!
The ‘It was made in France and made famous by Arnauds, New Orleans ’ fable.
Arnaud’s Restaurant, located in arguably the hottest roaring 20s party spot of the USA, New Orleans, claims the serving of the French 75 with cognac after the cocktail was bought back by American doughboys from WWI frontlines. The restaurant even named the adjacent bar ‘The French 75 Bar’!
Prominent throughout the bars on Broadway was the addition of applejack (a brandied cider), gin, sugar and lemon juice topped with bubbles. So many cocktail variations, who’d have time to try them all…hmmm, (any hands? J)
Our Seb’s experience and love of the French 75.
Here’s a lovely read about the first French 75 Seb ever made in London (in a big swish bar) as a newly imported young bright-eyed Geelong-ian lad trying to make his way in the big city…
‘I was working at a bar called Tsunami under the schooling of Dick Bradsel, who was known as the godfather of the London cocktail scene. So here I was, a green young lad coming from Geelong and this was the first serious cocktail bar I’d ever worked at. This cocktail was so utterly decadent. I was shocked and impressed by the sheer luxury of it, but also its simplicity. It’s gin, Champagne and citrus. Now, those flavours on their own are wonderful but, put them all together and wow, I fell in love!’ – Sebastian Reaburn.