The classic cocktail got its name during World War I when the French 75-millimeter field gun was used by French troops. If you've ever had a French 75, it was likely either made with vodka (ew) or gin. In 1915, the Washington Herald shared a recipe for a Soixante-Quinze or 75 in its newspaper. That recipe isn't the one we know and love today. The original cocktail was made with a combination of dry gin, applejack brandy, grenadine, and lemon juice.
Almost 30 years later, the cocktail we recognize was born in 1927. Traditionally, a French 75 is made with a combination of gin, freshly squeezed lemon juice, sugar, and champagne. There are arguments to be made that cognac and not gin is the right spirit to use in this cocktail. Either way, it's damn good and the perfect boozy beverage to drink during the holidays.
Don't let the cute champagne flute fool you; this drink packs a deceptive punch. It's almost all alcohol and more than 3 will have you sleeping through Thanksgiving dinner (depending on your family, this might be the move).
I took this classic and gave it a seasonal upgrade with juicy, unfiltered apple cider. Fresh thyme also makes an appearance here and adds a herbaceous note that sounds fancy AF, but really all you need to know is that it makes the cocktail extra yummy. For the love of God, do not try to make this drink with apple juice; it won't work. You need cider; the cloudier, the better.
Here, the most challenging part of the recipe is making the simple syrup, but after that, it's smooth sailing. Make sure to get a quality cognac. I love Pierre Ferrand, but you can use whichever cognac you can get your hands on. If you aren't able to find cognac, a brandy will do as well. This cocktail could also be made in a large batch; just be sure to allow each guest to top themselves off with a nice pour of sparkling.
Hope you enjoy this delicious sipper, and happy holidays!