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French 75

by Richard Godwin from The Spirits

Take your glass of champagne to the next level with the renowned French 75 cocktail, which adds a splash of cold gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup to your bubbles.


The French 75, which slides a spine of cold gin, lemon and sugar into a quivering body of champagne, is a simple and excellent way of improving bubbles. Admittedly you wouldn’t want to use the best vintage Dom Perignon here, but if you use half-decent bubbles, you should find the result sharp, steely and ‘modern’, in the way that Guillaume Apollinaire and Zelda Fitzgerald are modern,

Certainly, with its sharp report, it is more satisfying than the more common methods of doctoring champagne – and I won’t tell if you use prosecco.

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30ml gin
10ml lemon juice
5ml golden sugar syrup
Champagne (or sparkling wine)

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To make the golden sugar syrup place a saucepan on a low heat. Pour in 2 cupfuls of golden caster sugar, then 1 cupful of fresh water. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. As soon as it is dissolved, remove the syrup from the heat and allow it to cool – on no account allow it to boil. Once cooled decant into a jar or bottle and it should keep for six weeks or so – do give it a little taste before you add it to your spirits if you’re in doubt.

Be sure to freeze your flutes first and shake the gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup over ice to combine (if you are opening a bottle of champagne, I’m assuming you’re multiplying the quantities for guests, which may convince you it’s worth the trouble).

Double-strain a shot’s worth of the mixture into each chilled glass and top with champagne.

Garnish with a lemon-zest twist – here, elegance is all, so I would use a knife to fashion each one into a neat little parallelogram.

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