The Bizarre Origin Story Of The French 75 Cocktail Name

There are very few cocktails that have the same level of prestige as a Manhattan, Old Fashioned, or Cosmopolitan, but a French 75 is one of them. The classy boozy drink, which dates back to the early 1900s, is typically made with one part gin, three parts champagne, lemon juice, and simple syrup or sugar (via If you're impressed by the amount of alcohol content in this spiked concoction, just wait until you hear the cocktail name's bizarre origin story.

According to Difford's Guide, the French 75 cocktail is named after the French army's weapon of choice during World War I: the French 75-millimeter light field gun. The outlet reports that over 20,000 guns of its kind were made and fired during the war,  along with 200 million shells. A soldier was able to fire 15 rounds of ammo per minute, making it one of the deadliest on the market. As news of the war spread in 1914, one French bartender decided to create a specialty WWI-inspired cocktail coined "Soixante-Quinze," otherwise known as Seventy-Five. The drink immediately started being compared to its namesake gun, being referred to as "the most powerful drink in the world" and "hits with remarkable precision." However, the Seventy-Five back then is not exactly the French 75 we drink today.

Its name and recipe has been changed several times

The drink's name along with its recipe was reimagined a few times over the years, the only constants being the number 75 in the name and gin on the ingredient list, per Difford's Guide. As we know, the vintage cocktail was originally called the Soixante-Quinze, aka Seventy-Five, and came about between 1914 and 1915 roughly. This particular version, which was served in a Nick and Nora glass, called for dry gin, applejack brandy, grenadine, and lemon juice. About seven years later, a new rendition was introduced under the name "75" Cocktail. It was made up of dry gin, calvados, lemon juice, and grenadine and served in a coupe glass. Shortly thereafter, that recipe was altered to include absinthe, not lemon juice.

In 1927, Judge Jr. created a new recipe, which he dubbed French 75, and it featured dry gin, champagne, lemon juice, and powdered sugar. Since then, the recipe has remained untouched. Albeit, it's now served in flutes, not coupes or Collins. If you're ever looking to switch up the vintage drink, try mixing in cognac, bourbon, tequila, bitters, or vodka instead of gin.