This drink was created in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris—later known as Harry’s New York Bar—by Harry MacElhone and first recorded in The Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930. The original recipe called for gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and some bubbles. A later recipe replaces the gin with cognac. The combination was said to have such a kick that it felt like being shelled with the powerful 75mm field artillery gun. It also called a "75 Cocktail", or "Soixante Quinze" in French. The French 75, the predominant light artillery piece used by the Americans, was manufactured by the French. The “75” referred to the 75 mm. diameter of the shell. Experienced crews accurately delivered as many as 15 rounds per minute, thus creating the 75's reputation for efficient power and precision. This recipe comes from The Stork Club Bar Book.
Preparation Pour all ingredients except the champagne into a flute. Top with champagne and serve.
Cultural context Popular during Prohibition, the cocktail became the signature drink of Manhattan's Stork Club, a scene where mobsters (Frank Costello, a.k.a. the prime minister of the underworld) rubbed elbows with celebs (Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe) and politicians (the Kennedys).