Simply posting the French 75 as a gin cocktail will be controversial. Many claim that the classic French 75 features congac rather than gin, but I’m going to take my lead from The Savoy Cocktail Book of 1930, the first known recipe, which definitely uses gin.
There does seem to be a general consensus that the French 75 was invented at the New York Bar in Paris in 1915 by Harry MacElhone. It was named for the French 75mm field gun which was small, but packed a punch. A reference to the cocktail’s potency. As they said in The Savoy Cocktail Book it ‘hits with remarkable precision’.
There is also a vast discrepancy in the amount of gin that should be used, I’ve seen everything from 7.5mL (1/4oz) to 60mL (2oz), along with most of a glass of champagne or dry sparking wine, that can be quite a hit.
Here’s my best recipe:
30mL Gin, any solid mid-range gin will do, Tanquery, Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater etc
15mL fresh lemon juice, it’s really worth juicing yourself, don’t use the bottled stuff
15 mL simple/sugar syrup
Shake with ice and strain into a champagne flute. Fill the glass with a brut champagne or sparkling wine, nothing too fancy. Pour the wine over a spoon so it doesn’t fizz over.
Traditionally a French 75 if a delightful pre-dinner drink, but I say indulge at any sparkling moment.