The French Bar
While France is definitely renowned for its fine wines, they’re not the only thing on the bar menu. In fact, each region has its own cocktail specialty. So if you’re in the mood for a different kind of refreshing drink on a warm summer’s day, here are some recipes you might like to try.
KIR – Burgundy
This drink was popularized by Felix Kir, mayor of Dijon & hero of the French Resistance, just after WW II in order to showcase his region’s fine products — wine and Crème de Cassis, a black current liqueur. Kir is a favorite drink of Agatha Christie’s fictional detective, Hercule Poirot. It is simple to make and has many variations.
- 1/2 oz. Crème de Cassis
- 5-6 oz. dry white wine (i.e. Chardonnay)
Pour the Crème de Cassis into a wine glass. Add the dry white wine. Garnish with a lemon twist.
*I prefer to chill the wine first.
Kir Royale – substitute champagne for the wine
We picked up a locally produced Cassis in Beaune at the winery we toured which we have found to be especially good. If you can find (and afford) a French brand, you will discover it is much richer and thicker than the American style most readily available in the U.S.
PASTIS – Provence
If you like anise-flavored drinks, this one’s for you. Pastis was developed by Paul Ricard in 1932 as an alternate to absinthe, the drink of many Parisian artists & writers in the early 1900’s, which was extremely addictive in its original form and hence, was banned. Unlike absinthe, Pastis is derived from the distillation of star anise with the addition of licorice root. As it is 45% alcohol, it is always diluted with water. Though uncommon in the U.S., it is one of the most popular beverages in France with 130 million liters sold each year.
How to Drink Pastis:
- Pour 1 oz. of Pastis into a rocks glass.
- Add 5 oz. of water, preferably chilled.
- Top with ice cubes as desired.
- Sip slowly.
Pastis is meant to be enjoyed by itself not as an accompaniment to food. When served in a restaurant, the waiter will often bring the ingredients separately — a glass, a shot of Pastis, a pitcher of water, and a bowl of ice (to be combined in that order) — as everyone has their own preference for the intensity of the anise. Curiously, the addition of water causes the liqueur to change from clear yellow to a milky pale yellow due to the insolubility of some of its contents.
For more info: Ricard Pastis
MARTINI – Not James Bond’s Order
We discovered this on a menu at our B & B in Talloires in the Alps region. Our first thought was that it was one of the “shaken, not stirred” variety, but when we inquired we found that it was something completely different. It was a simple aperitif created with Martini, an Italian vermouth, of Martini & Rossi fame. Super easy & very refreshing enjoyed before or with a meal.
How to Serve Martini:
Pour 3 oz. over ice into a rocks glass. Add a twist of lime or lemon.
*Martini comes in Bianco, Rosso, and Rosato. We prefer the Bianco.
For more info: Martini
To all our friends, family, and faithful readers… as they say here in France, “Salut!”