If you are looking for a recipe for an elegant champagne cocktail to serve at parties, or to welcome in the New Year, you should become acquainted with this delicious retro Meyer Lemon French 75 Cocktail!
A French 75 is a cocktail made with gin, champagne, and lemon simple syrup. According to Wikipedia, “it is also called a 75 Cocktail, or in French simply a Soixante Quinze. The drink dates to World War I, and an early form was created in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris—later Harry’s New York Bar—by barman Harry MacElhone.”
What’s the difference in a French 75, a French 76, and a French 77?
Full of lemony essence and complex flavors, a Meyer Lemon French 75 can also be made with regular lemons and, in the early days, it was made with cognac instead of gin. In New Orleans, they still make it with cognac. Of course, you can also substitute vodka for gin, if you prefer, but if so, well then, you will have made a French 76! A French 77 is a French 75 with St-Germain Elderflower liqueur instead of the lemon simple syrup.
A friend of mine, Quincie Hamby, gave me a large bag of beautiful Meyer lemons from her tree. I can’t think of a better use for them, and I have to think Quincie would agree! I wish you could have seen those lemons, and I’m so sorry I didn’t take a picture because you probably won’t believe me when I tell you they were almost as big as a grapefruit. I ended up with over a gallon of Meyer lemon juice in my freezer and several jars of Preserved Lemons.
I thought this tasty old-fashioned cocktail deserved to be served in old-fashioned glasses, so I borrowed these gorgeous antique champagne glasses from my friend Martha Coppins, which were a gift from a longtime friend of her mother’s!
What’s the difference in Meyer Lemons and regular lemons?
Meyer lemons are a cross between regular lemons and mandarin oranges, and their juice is not quite as tart or acidic as regular lemons.
How to make Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup:
Place the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. This should only take a few minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
How to make Meyer Lemon French 75 Cocktail:
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then add gin and Meyer Lemon simple syrup. Shake well and strain into four Champagne glasses.
Top with 2 ounces of Champagne each.
Stir gently and, optional, garnish with a lemon peel twist.
To make a lemon peel twist, use a vegetable peeler and carefully peel a long thin strip of lemon peel from a lemon. Slice it into strips no wider than 1/8 of an inch. Take the strip and wrap it around a pencil or skewer and hold it for a minute to set the twist.
- No Meyer lemons? No problem. Simply substitute fresh regular lemon juice.
- This recipe makes enough for 4 cocktails. To make just one cocktail, simply divide the ingredients by 4.
- You will have some lemon simple syrup left over. You can make homemade lemonade with it by adding about two cups of water for every quarter cup of simple syrup. It will also keep indefinitely in the refrigerator.
Did you make this recipe?
If so, please rate it and let me know what you think in the comments section. Also, take a picture, post it on Instagram and tag @gritsandpinecones, and hashtag it #gritsandpinecones. I love hearing from you and seeing what you have made!
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