What better way to kick off summer and the count down to the end of the year, than with our Romancing the home challenge this week, of making a cocktail, (or a few)!

My favourite drink is Champagne or bubbly/Methode Cap Classiques (as it’s known as in South Africa) and my husband’s is gin. So our cocktail of choice is of course a French 75. The “French” part needs no explanation!

French 75 is a cocktail made from gin, champagne, lemon juice, and sugar. It is also called a 75 Cocktail, or in French simply a Soixante Quinze (Seventy Five). The drink dates back to World War I, an early form was created in 1915 at the New York Bar in Paris—later Harry’s New York Bar—by barman Harry MacElhone. The combination was said to have such a kick that it felt like being shot with the powerful French 75mm field gun.


Christmas version with raspberries, blueberries and fresh thyme

French 75 Cocktail


60 ml Champagne

15 ml lemon juice

30 ml gin (my husband prefers KWV gin)

2 dashes simple syrup


First start by making the simple syrup as follows:

Traditional simple syrup is made from one part water to one part sugar. First heat the water, before adding the sugar. Heating the sugar and water together won’t ruin the syrup — it just takes longer to heat up. It’s not necessary to bring the water to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, let the syrup cool down. Store it in a glass container or in the refrigerator for two to three weeks

Combine gin, syrup, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

Shake vigorously and strain into an iced champagne glass.

Top up with Champagne and stir gently.


Classic version with lemon skin spiral

On our visits to France we learned that the French never serve drinks without snacks. And anything goes as long as you have something to line your tummy while you have a drink.

We love Marlene van der Westhuizen’s spicy caramelized nuts. Our family and friends will be quite disappointed if we don’t serve them as a snack, when they arrive at our house.

Spicy caramelized nuts


50 ml olive oil

300 g mixed raw nuts

125 g castor sugar

1/4 tsp salt

5 ml ground cumin seeds

5 ml ground coriander seeds

5 cardamom pods, shelled and ground


Heat the oil, add the nuts and sprinkle the sugar and salt over the mixture.

Cook and stir until the sugar has melted and the nuts are golden.

Mix the spices in a bowl.

As soon as the nuts are ready, scrape them into the spices and toss quickly.

Tip out onto a baking tray lined with greased baking paper.

Use a fork to separate any that stick together.

Leave to cool before serving.

Tip: DO NOT double the quantity in one go! The sugar does not melt!


Party version, the glass rim covered in edible rose gold glitter

Check my Romancing the Home friends posts for great cocktail ideas:

Ramona at Ruffles and Rust

Talia at My Shabby Shack

Stacy at Sawdust and High Heels

So when life gives you lemons its time to open the gin (and Champagne)! A votre sante