Cocktail #3: French 75

By Hairee Lee

"Come quickly, I am tasting the stars! "

Is the supposed exclamation of the Benedictin monk, Dom Perignon, at the moment he discovered Champagne. And I have to agree with Dom, bless his vintner heart. In a perfect world, I would have a glass of Champagne every night, stars or no stars.

Quotations abound of famous people lauding the centuries old beverage. But this was only after the Champenois, the makers of Champagne, stopped trying to get rid of the bubbles and embraced the so called "fault". Now, it's the wine unequaled in its association with victory and celebration and luxury. Think weddings and New Year's Eve. Think Winston Churchill during World War I declaring, "It's not just France we are fighting for, it's Champagne!" Think Jay-Z's love and hate relationship with Cristal.

(To read about Jay-Z's boycotting of the $300 per bottle bubbly because of some flip comment made by Frederic Rousaud, managing director of Champagne Louis Roederer, makers of Cristal, check out "Jay-Z, Cristal and Sobriety" in The Washington Post by former editor and columnist and my former Emerson College professor, Jabari Asim.)

We didn't make ours with Champagne. Not the real stuff and by real stuff I mean Champagne from Champagne, France. If you ever see Champagne from California or Australia, it's sparking white wine, not Champagne. The name "Champagne" is a protected designation of origin in the European Union and all wines produced and sold in the EU must conform to those standards and not label a wine as "Champagne" unless it comes from the Champagne, AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, French for "controlled designation of origin).

French 75 Serves 1


  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) gin. We used Hendrick's, because it's the curiously good gin.
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon drop syrup. We substituted the lemon juice and simple syrup with a pre-made lemon drop syrup from Whole Foods. It's a perfect combination of both ingredients and makes ours (and your) cocktail making life easier. Cocktails should be as much a pleasure to make as to drink. Why else would you spend $60 on a Rosle cocktail shaker? I am not being facetious, only rhetorical.
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) dry sparkling wine, chilled


  1. Using zester or paring knife, slice peel from lemon in long, thin spiral. We used the Rosle zester and chanelle.
  2. Curl lemon peel around finger to create twist at least 6 inches long and hook it in the Champagne flute
  3. In cocktail shaker, combine gin, lemon drop syrup.
  4. Add ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds.
  5. Strain into chilled Champagne flutes and top with sparkling wine. We served our French 75s in the Simon Pearce Hampton Champagne flutes.
  6. Serve immediately!

Recipe adapted from Epicurious. Jay-Z image by Urban Digital.