The French 75 consists of gin, simple syrup, lemon juice and champagne. Some mixologists replace the simple syrup with orange liqueur and older recipes use Cognac rather than gin as a base.
To make a contemporary French 75, fill a cocktail shaker with 1 ounce gin, 1/2 ounce each of lemon juice and simple syrup, and ice, then shake well. Strain this mixture into a champagne flute, and top off the rest of the way with champagne. A lemon twist is the most common garnish. For a slightly different flavor use orange liqueur, such as Cointreau, instead of simple sugar.
The French 75 was created in 1915 by Harry MacElhone of Paris' New York Club. Soldiers returning from World War I brought the drink to America, and it was soon a popular cocktail in New York City's Stork Club. The name comes from the drink allegedly having the same kick as a French 75-millimeter gun.
The first written account of the French 75 was in 1930 in the Savoy Cocktail Book, which states gin as the base spirit. A later book claims that the original base was Cognac. Some early accounts of the French 75 claim that it is served in a highball glass rather than a champagne flute.