A French 76 is a simple sparkling cocktail is made with vodka, lemon juice and sparkling wine for a fun and festive drink that is lovely for any occasion.
This cocktail is perfect for any celebratory occasion like birthdays, bridal parties, weddings, New Year’s Eve and more. It is the perfect crowd pleasing beverage that is easy to make and feels both fun and fancy to drink.
For another fun and festive cocktail, try our Blackberry Lemon Drop Martini!
What is a French 76?
A French 76 is a play on a classic gin cocktail: the better-known French 75. This variation is a French 75 made with vodka (instead of gin) and is perfect for those who don’t enjoy the flavors of juniper or would prefer a stronger drink that allows the flavors of sparkling wine to shine.
- Vodka - Any brand - plain, flavored or infused!
- Sparkling Wine - For cocktails, don’t blow your budget for true Champagne. For mixing drinks, a decent quality Prosecco, cava or cremant will do the trick. I personally prefer a drier style sparkling wine (sometimes labeled brut, extra brut or brut nature/zero), but you can use any sparkling wine you like - even rosé!
- Lemon Juice - Freshly-squeezed, please!
- Simple Syrup - Any flavor you like! See the Variations section for some suggestions.
- Garnish - We use a simple lemon twist but you can use a maraschino cherry, a seasonal berry or edible flower.
How To Make This Drink
These celebratory cocktails are quick and easy to make. Start by shaking vodka, lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker (or mason jar) with ice.
Strain the shaker into a flute, wine or coupe glass. Top with sparkling wine. be careful! The citrus and sugar make the first pour of wine extra bubbly! Go slow!
Finish with a simple lemon twist a cherry or a seasonal garnish like a berry, sprig of thyme or an edible flower.
Did You Know? Flutes Vs. Coupes - Today it is popular to drink Champagne and other sparkiling wine from tall, narrow flutes. But, did you know that a wide and shallow coupe was the original Champagne glass? The coupe style glass is rumored to have been inspired by the shape of Marie Antoinette’s breast and is often favored by Champagne drinkers looking to admire the wine’s aroma.
We will say that coupes don’t hold the bubble quite as well as taller glasses… but if you’re looking for that timeless vintage aesthetic or Gatsby-worthy photo-op - these glasses do look and feel perfect for a party.
A French 76 is also a lovely lemony cocktail that can be easily customized to personal preferences. If you prefer a sweeter drink, you can simply add more simple syrup. If you prefer a more tart cocktail you can decrease syrup and/or increase the lemon juice. For a different flavor, you can play around with other types of citrus fruit juice.
You can also make endless seasonal variations of this cocktail using flavored vodka or unique simple syrups. Try this drink using some of our flavored simple syrup recipes:
See all of our simple syrup recipes here.
French 76 Cocktail (French 75 with Vodka)
- Cocktail Shaker (or Mason Jar with Lid)
- Hawthorne Cocktail Strainer
- 1 ounce vodka
- ½ ounce lemon juice freshly-squeezed
- ½ ounce simple syrup (Equal parts sugar and water)
- Ice as needed for shaking
- 4 ounces dry sparkling wine
- 1 lemon twist maraschino cherry, berry or other seasonal garnish, optional
- Combine vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup and ice in a cocktail shaker (or mason jar). Shake vigorously for 30 seconds until ice cold.
- Strain through a Hawthorne cocktail strainer into a flute, wine or coupe glass. Top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a lemon twist or berry, as desired. Serve immediately. Cheers!
* A Note About Salt
Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on The Sage Apron are developed using Diamond Crystal Kosher salt. It is a great all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If using table salt, reduce quantities by about half.