french 74 Cocktail

7 Astonishing Facts About French 74

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The French 74 is a delightful and refreshing champagne cocktail made with vodkalemon juicesimple syrup, and sparkling wine. This effervescent libation has a fascinating history and some intriguing facts behind its origins and evolution over the years.

In this article, we will uncover 7 astonishing facts about the French 74 that will give you a deeper appreciation for this bubbly concoction. From its connections to World War I weaponry to its many riffs and variations, the story of the French 74 is full of captivating details.

So pop open a bottle of your favorite sparkling wine and let’s explore some eye-opening trivia about this beloved cocktail!

It Was Named After a Powerful French Military Weapon

The French 74 gets its unusual moniker from the Canon de 75 modèle 1897, a rapid-fire French field gun used during World War I. This artillery piece had a fierce reputation thanks to its accuracy and fast rate of fire.

The original French 75 cocktail, created around 1915, was said to “hit with the same force” as the Canon de 75 in reference to its potency. When the drink’s base spirit was changed from gin to vodka after the war, it became known as the French 74.

The First Version Used Gin Instead of Vodka

As mentioned above, the earliest published recipe for the French 75 from 1927 used gin as the base spirit, along with lemon juicesugar, and champagne.

It wasn’t until after World War II that vodka started being substituted into the drink, resulting in the French 74 variation we know today.

Fun fact: There is also a “French 125” version made with brandy as the base liquor.

It Has Ties to Famous Parisian Bar Harry’s New York Bar

While the exact origins are uncertain, the French 75 is believed to have first been created at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris – a legendary watering hole frequented by Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and other famous figures.

This world-famous bar, later run by bartender Harry MacElhone, published an early recipe for the drink in 1919 and helped popularize it.

The Lemon Juice Adds a Lovely Citrus Note

The lemon juice used in the French 74 cocktail provides a bright, lively citrus flavor that beautifully balances out the sweetness. Freshly squeezed juice is always best to preserve the nuances.

According to the International Bartenders Association’s official recipe, the drink calls for 3⁄4 ounce of lemon juice per serving.

It’s Considered an IBA Official Cocktail

The French 75 cocktail holds the distinction of being included in the International Bartenders Association’s (IBA) list of “Official IBA Cocktails.”

This recognition indicates its importance as a standard drink that every bartender should know.

The IBA’s official recipe calls for:

  • 1 1⁄2 oz vodka
  • 3⁄4 oz lemon juice
  • 3⁄4 oz simple syrup
  • 2 oz sparkling wine

There Are Many Creative Riffs on the Classic

While the original French 75 struck a perfect balance, many bartenders have created their own unique riffs by tweaking the ingredients:

  • The French 76 uses elderflower liqueur instead of simple syrup
  • The French 77 incorporates strawberry liqueur
  • The French 95 uses bourbon as the base spirit

And the variations go on and on! The drink’s basic template lends itself well to customization.

It’s an Ideal Cocktail for Celebrations

With its effervescent texture and ultra-refreshing taste, the French 75 is a perfect choice for celebrations and special occasions.

The sparkling wine gives it an elegant, sophisticated air that feels festive and elevated. That’s why you’ll often see it served at weddings, parties, and holidays like New Year’s Eve.

It provides a little more alcoholic punch than a standard champagne toast!


The French 74 has a long and storied history that has evolved over many decades. With its vodka base, bright citrus and bubbly sparkling wine, this cocktail continues to be a crowd-pleasing classic on bar menus around the world.

The next time you order a French 74, you can share some of these fascinating facts about its origins and background. Knowing the rich backstory will make sipping this effervescent libation even more enjoyable!

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