As the champagne sidecar cocktail demonstrates, everything’s better with bubbly! A bubbly cocktail is perfect for when you want that celebratory taste coupled with a kick of high-proof spirits. The classic French 75 cocktail is one of those worth-knowing champagne cocktails and always a good choice at a small hotel bar. For a recent Total Wine bubbly class, the sommelier invited me to share a champagne cocktail with the attendees, and of course I picked my favorite riff on a French 75: the Elderflower French 75!
The French 75 cocktail as we now know it is traditionally made with gin, champagne, lemon juice, and sugar. The name originates from Harry McElhone’s bar in Paris during World War I, because the drink—known in France as the Soixante Quinze (75)—felt like getting shelled by the famous French 75mm field gun currently being used. But I promise you, it’s a pleasant shelling! (Lol.) The Elderflower French 75 exchanges the simple syrup for elderflower liqueur to provide the sweetness along with gorgeous notes of floral elderflower and fruity lychee. St. Germain is the classic elderflower liqueur (with a stunning bottle!), but I find that Drillaud’s artisanal liqueurs and cordials, distilled in the Burgundy region with recipes passed down from generation to generation, are a lovely (and price-conscious) alternative.
The Elderflower French 75 was a big hit with the crowd! Here’s my recipe!
Note: You are welcome to use true champagne in your Elderflower French 75, but a prosecco is a fine choice as well, as the light sweetness of the bubbly goes well with the tart gin cocktail base. For this cocktail, we used La Vostra Prosecco and it was divine!
The Elderflower French 75
2 oz gin (Citadel is a lovely French gin that uses a progressive infusion technique to draw out the flavors and aromas of 19 different botanicals)
1 oz elderflower liqueur
½ oz lemon juice (¾ oz fresh lemon juice)
Champagne or prosecco to top
Shake all ingredients except the bubbly with ice. Strain into a champagne flute or coupe glass and top with 2 ounces of champagne or prosecco!