The French 75 
{ paired with shrimp cocktail }
The French 75

The recipe:

1 1/2 ounces gin (preferably one redolent with juniper)

1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

1/2 ounce simple syrup*

1–1 1/2 ounces champagne

lemon twist, as garnish

brandied cherry, as garnish


Shake gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup for 30 seconds in an ice-filled shaker. Strain into wine goblet or highball glass halfway filled with ice. Top with champagne. Add more ice if necessary. Garnish with lemon twist and cherry.

* Over low heat, dissolve 1 cup sugar in 1 cup water (stir occasionally). Remove from heat, cool in container, and refrigerate for up to a month.

Shrimp Cocktail

Nothing could be easier than shrimp cocktail, and it’s so perfect paired with the French 75. The spiky tang of traditional cocktail sauce (ketchup and horseradish) brightens the lemon juice and whatever herbs and spices inform the gin, making your taste buds very happy. Make this your go-to hors d’oeuvre when you’re in a hurry or tired but still crave something satisfying. Frozen shrimp is great to keep on hand, but we recommend getting the raw shrimp with the shell on. The flavor is deeper, much more complex—with a hint of the sea.

The recipe:

A good rule of thumb is that 2 lbs. of shrimp in their shells will yield about 1 1/4 lbs. when peeled.

Allow about 3/4 lb. headless shrimp in the shell per person; if the shrimp are shelled, about 1/3 to 1/2 lb. per person.

Simply boil shrimp for 3–5 minutes in salted water. Cook until they turn pink, and then rinse in cold water. Drain and pat dry. Serve with your favorite cocktail sauce.

Watch Paul make a light and refreshing French 75 and Steve some simple and delicious shrimp cocktail. (Click ► to play.)

{ If you cannot view the movie, you must download Quicktime. }

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CHOOSING THE RIGHT GIN is a very important part of the French 75 process. If we want a light drink that doesn’t overpower the lemon, we’ll perhaps choose Bulldog. If we want a more juniper-tasting cocktail, we’ll opt for some Tanqueray. Experiment with what you already have, and grow from there.

FLUTES ANNOUNCE themselves as the traditional champagne cocktail vessel. We have over a dozen in our sideboard, and we use them quite a bit. But for the French 75, we wanted to try something a little different and chose a wine goblet [SEE PHOTO ABOVE]. You’ll add a little unexpected touch to your cocktail party. But if you want to go traditional and use champagne flutes, then go right ahead. You can cut an extra long lemon twist and let it drape down the outside of the flute.


For such a light and refreshing drink to be named after heavy artillery used in World War I is incongruous or poetic either way you look at it. But the French 75 has survived the battles over the years and has reemerged recently as one of the most popular drinks on bar menus throughout the U.S. Imagine a Tom Collins, topped with your favorite champagne, and you have the French 75. Keep bottles of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, simple syrup, and gin at your bar, make sure a bottle of champagne (or some Sofia cans) are chilling on ice, and keep the recipe visible. That way your guests can help themselves. All you have to do do is encourage vigorous shaking to get this delicate drink cold. (Just keep a measuring cup handy to keep out the guesswork.)