Cognac French 75

Cognac French 75 - A Valentine's Cocktail

What comes to mind when you think of Valentine’s cocktails?  Pink drinks embellished with skewered fruit – a lady cocktail? Or a bottle of the finest French champagne? Perhaps you prefer a more restrained blend, not overly sweet, with a bit of polish? Then the Cognac French 75 is for you because it’s an easy champagne cocktail with a bit of panache.

  Cognac French 75 ingredients.

The Cognac French 75 is my favorite Valentine’s cocktail.  Well, to be honest, it’s one of my favorite sippers PERIOD. I had my first (and second, third and fourth) one in New Orleans with my husband, Scott, while celebrating our wedding anniversary.  The cognac cocktail looked elegant in a beautiful coupe stem with a steady stream of bubbles rising to the surface, but the taste is what sold me. This isn’t your typical lady cocktail with lots of fruit and sugar.  It’s sophisticated. Delicate. Very sip-able.

 

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French 75 - a Valentine's Cocktail

First, a little history…

There are two well known, if not always agreed on, ways to make a French 75 (aka: soixante-quinze).  One involves Cognac, the other, Gin. From what I’ve been able to discern the Gin version is the widely accepted “original” but the Cognac version has the better… and I think... more believable backstory.

The Story Goes…

…that the classic Cognac French 75 dates back to World War I where it was named for the kick it delivered upon imbibing… feeling like you’d been hit with a French 75 field gun (the size of the 75 mm artillery in the French soldier’s weapon). This ain’t no “lady cocktail.”

I can attest to the kick.  One Cognac French 75 will give you a pleasant euphoria, two brings a deeper buzz… One and a half drinks suits me… best to not go past two.

 

making simple syrup.

Let’s Start With The Basics…

As with most cocktails, this one includes simple syrup.

What Is Simple Syrup?

  • Simple syrup is a combination of equal parts sugar and water.
  • You can purchase simple syrup at the liquor store or even the grocery store. But don’t.
  • It’s so much more economical to make your own at home (in about 3 minutes).
  • To make simple syrup: Combine 1:1 ratio of sugar and water in a pan and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Cool to room temperature and store in a clean jar with a lid.
  • It doesn’t go bad. Keep it in a sealed jar in the fridge or in your liquor cabinet.  Doesn’t matter. It’ll be ready when you are!

 

VSOP Cognac for Cognac Cocktails.

For this cognac cocktail, I chose a nice VSOP (meaning it’s been barrel aged for 2-6 years, save the XO for sipping straight). This one was a moderately priced bottle, around $31.

 

Bitters for easy champagne cocktails.

How To Make Cognac French 75

  1. Add ice to a cocktail shaker (I prefer the type with the strainer embedded in the lid, but you can also use those fancy ones with the slinky wire and a traditional boston shaker).
  2. Simple syrup, lemon juice and bitters are added to the shaker and chilled with the cognac.
  3. For the bitters, you can use Angostura, but if you can find Peychaud’s (a New Orleans favorite) or good orange bitters, use them.
  4. Seal the lid on the shaker and vigorously agitate for 10-15 seconds or until the outside of the shaker is very frosty and cold.
  5. Strain the cognac cocktail into a coupe or champagne flute (your choice).
  6. Top the cocktail with champagne.
  7. Serve with a twist of lemon or even an Amarena cherry like the one’s we used in these bellinis.

 

Crémant De Bourgogne for lady cocktails and Valentine's cocktails.

I admit, I won’t pop a bottle of $50 Veuve Cliquot to top this easy “champagne” cocktail. Instead, I opt for a very reasonably priced facsimile… This Cremant de Bourgogne is about $9 at Trader Joe’s.  After you make a few cocktails,  seal it up with a champagne cork and save the rest for brunch spritzers the next day.

 

Cognac French 75 in a coupe glass with a twist.

This cocktail straddles the line between deep and leathery and bright and citrusy. Unlike most lady cocktails, it’s not overly sweet (which I like) and the cognac gives it a more sophisticated flavor. This is the easy champagne cocktail I want to toast with for New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. You’re going to want one, too.

 

Cognac cocktails for celebrating.

More sophisticated cocktails you might enjoy:

 

Print Pin
4.93 from 13 votes

French 75 with Cognac

VSOP Cognac - just a few tablespoons, take this French 75 to a deeper place. VSOP is barrel aged 2-6 year for a rich, smooth finish. Combined with a bit of lemon juice, simple syrup, bitters and a zshush of sparkling wine, this sophisticated cocktail is perfect for candlelight and dark corners.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Drinks
Cuisine French
Keyword champagne, cocktails, cognac
Dietary Restrictions Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 ¼ ounces VSOP Cognac
  • ¼ ounce lemon juice
  • ¼ ounce simple syrup
  • 2 drops bitters I used Peychauds, but other orange bitters would work well too.
  • 2 ounces sparkling wine
  • 1 thick lemon peel twisted for presentation (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a cocktail shaker add the ice, cognac, lemon juice, bitters & simple syrup. Secure the lid and shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is frosty and cold.
  • Strain the cocktail into a coupe glass and finish with the sparkling wine and lemon peel. Serve.

RECIPE VIDEO:

YouTube video

NUTRITION:

Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 49mg | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin C: 4mg | Iron: 0.5mg

Pin “Cognac French 75” For Later!

Need an easy champagne cocktail for celebrating? Cognac French 75 isn't your average lady cocktail. Sophisticated & polished, it's a perfect Valentine's Cocktail or New Year's Eve celebration starter! #valentine's cocktails #lady cocktails #french75 #cognacfrench75 #easychampagnecocktails #cognaccocktails #celebrationcocktails #champagne #sparklingwine #prosecco #brandy

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12 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    You nailed it on the name. This is definitely a sophisticated cocktail. How fun to make this for Valentines Day…though I don’t think I’ll wait that long to try it out!

  2. 5 stars
    Oh yum, this is my absolute favorite cocktail, such great subtle flavors! I have never made one from home but these instructions make it sound so easy. How perfect to serve it up for Valentine’s Day, I might have to follow suit πŸ™‚

  3. 5 stars
    Gorgeous cocktail with super simple ingredients, and sounds so classy and sophisticated. You GO girl! Always bringin the heat…even for a chilled, bubbly beverage. Thanks for the another mouth-watering recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    Yay! Thank you for giving us a V-day cocktail that isn’t mega sweet. I’m a mega cognac lover AND a French75 lover. So… I basically need to make this ASAP!

  5. 5 stars
    This is so wonderfully spritzy and refreshing! I’m usually not big on liquor (it knocks me on my arse REAL fast) but a little effervescent sipper like this is so nice once in a while. I’m obviously stuck sippin’ virgin cocktails this Valentine’s Day, but this might be a nice first drink post-delivery in June πŸ˜‰ You’ve always got smart libations here!

  6. Annemarie says:

    5 stars
    As a fan of cocktails that range from dry and restrained to sweet enough that I’m gonna skip dessert, I think they are all lady cocktails! πŸ™‚ Whatever kind of cocktail we call your French 75 though, I think we have to call it delicious. I definitely prefer the cognac version, both for taste and history, when I go out, so I’m very happy to try making it at home. Thanks!

  7. 5 stars
    Thanks for all of the tips to make this easy. I don’t make a lot of cocktails so my husband will be really surprised when I make this for him on Valentine’s. He LOVES French 75s and orders them when we are out all of the time!

  8. 5 stars
    I appreciate a cocktail that is less sweet! In fact, I’m thinking that if I use a low-carb simple syrup, I could actually have one of these and not blow my low-carb diet! Better make that half of one–my tolerance isn’t what it used to be!

  9. Marisa Franca says:

    5 stars
    We are due for some ugly weather and we’re going to the store today — including Trader Joe. I’m definitely making this gorgeous cocktail. A nice movie, a fire in the fireplace. Perfect way to spend an evening or Valentines Day.

  10. 5 stars
    I don’t think I have ever made a cocktail at home. Your description on how to make this champagne cocktail sounds delicious and easy. Saving this recipe for when the girls come over, this will be so much fun! And for the record, I think this is very much a ‘lady cocktail’.

  11. 5 stars
    As someone who can’t make a cocktail ever, thanks for the breakdown! You totally make this sound do-able for me haha. Even the twisted lemon peel!

  12. 5 stars
    I just happen to have ALL the ingredients to make this. Who would have thought?? Sounds like a plan for the weekend. It is going to be cold and snowy here. I will be just fine making this, curling up by the fire and watching a movie.