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The French 75 is that rare creature of a cocktail: elegant enough to make you feel like it’s New Year‘s Eve in Paris but made with just a few simple ingredients that come together with little more effort than it would take for you to crack open that same old bottle of wine.

Simple syrup is the only element of this cocktail recipe that requires a little work: Add 1 cup of boiling water to 1 cup of sugar and stir vigorously until the sugar dissolves completely, then chill until cool. Champagne is the traditional choice for the bubbles, but any good and very dry sparkling wine like cava or prosecco will work in a pinch.

There’s some debate about whether a French 75 should call for gin or cognac. The drink‘s name comes from the 75-millimeter cannons used in World War I, says Chris Hannah, the head bartender at Arnaud’s French 75 Bar in New Orleans. “The Lafayette Escadrille were an allied fighter pilot outfit made up of American and French military who would drink cognac and Champagne after successful air raids and toast to the French 75 cannon for their safety.” Some cite Harry’s New York Bar in Paris—also in the pro-Cognac camp—for making the drink popular. Today it’s more common to see the cocktail made with gin, which is what you‘ll find in our recipe, but either works well. If you prefer cognac, Pierre Ferrand is a good choice. Serve this classic cocktail in Champagne flutes for the full effect.