In 1898 the French army adopted a new field gun (we’d probably just call it a canon) that is widely considered to be the first modern artillery piece. The Materiel de 75mm Mle 1897, which saw extensive use in World War I by the Allied Forces, was commonly referred to as the “French 75” by English speakers. On October 23, 1917, the first artillery shells fired by the US Army in World War I were fired by a French 75 that the soldiers had named “Bridget.”
What does this have to do with drinking?
In 1915 a Scottish barman named Harry MacElhone was running The New York Bar (later called Harry’s New York Bar) in Paris. It was there that MacElhone named a new cocktail consisting of gin, lemon juice, sugar, and champagne on his menu the French 75.
¾ oz Bonded Applejack
¾ oz Gin
¾ oz Lemon Juice
¾ oz Simple Syrup
1 oz Champagne
Combine all but champagne in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe and top with champagne.
As Fall has eventually found its way to Sunny Southern California, 320 Main decided to take the drink that took Paris and, eventually, New York and other points West by storm, and give it a bit of an American twist and Fall flavor. A little bit of apple goes a long way to making this refreshing drink feel at home among cooler temperatures and red and orange leaves.
● It is often debated whether the French 75 originally called for gin or - as many people know it - with Cognac. While there are some notable references to the drink being made with cognac, the earliest references all seem to point to gin as the original base-spirit.
● Noted cocktail historian (yes, that’s an actual job that your guidance counselor hid from you) David Wondrich has pointed out that the combination of gin, citrus, sugar, and champagne can actually be traced back as far as 1867, when Charles Dickens encountered it during his travels to America (though Dickens specifically mentions Old Tom gin, which would have had a different flavor).