Between its high fashion houses, grand monuments and idyllic countryside, France is a country that has long been the subject of global acclaim. Not least of all because of the nation’s exquisite variety of liqueurs, spirits and fine wines. A collection of French drinks that have and continue to grace our collective pallets with a sweep of delectable flavours.
As a gesture of appreciation to the country that has served us an esteemed and lofty selection of delicious and decadent beverages, Pampelle has drawn up a modest list of some of France’s most famous alcoholic productions. Here’s our list of famous french alcohol and traditional french drinks.
First Up…Yours Truly
Pampelle Grapefruit Aperitif may not be as old as Armagnac or as heavily regulated as Champagne, but it is nonetheless a versatile liqueur, passionately and undeniably French.
Star Ruby Red Grapefruits, handpicked from the island of Corsica, are halved and macerated at length, pressed and reduced to a deep, velvety red. Infused with the citrus from globally sourced peels, our batches are blended with Cinchona tree bark quinine, natural Gentian bitters and our signature Eau de Vie.
Finally refined on the banks of the River Charene in Cognac, the result is an artisanal contradiction of bitter-sweet citrus, natural botanicals and Eau de Vie.
A classic French spirit, this variety of brandy can only be said to be authentic if it is made with white grapes from one of the six official vineyards in the south west of France, legally defined as cognac-producing regions. Once double distilled, the Eau de Vie (colourless fruit brandy) is blended and aged in oak barrels to reveal the spirit’s sophisticated fruity, nutty, honied, vanilla and caramel flavours.
Historically referred to as ‘the green fairy’, this spirit derives much of its taste from the green anise plant, along with sweet fennel, wormwood and other herbs and spices. Along with its characteristic emerald appearance, Absinthe is also regarded for its particularly high alcohol content.
And despite this spirit originating in Switzerland, it was in fact France, at the turn of the 19th century, that drove the drink into popularity, especially within the creative circles of Parisian artists and writers.
Another classic French brandy, Armagnac draws its rich chocolate, dried fruit and caramel flavours from a distilled blend of grapes and oak barrel ageing.
Much like French Cognac, this spirit owes its authenticity to its strictly governed production in the The Armagnac Region in Gascony. Armagnac is well known to be France’s oldest brandy with records of it’s origins dating back to the 14th century.
Bourgogne, or Burgundy, wines hail from the Burgundy region of France. With dry reds traditionally made from pinot noir grapes, and whites mainly derived from chardonnay grapes, these wines have earned a reputation as some of the best and most expensive wines in the world.
From Paris to New York, this sparkling white wine owes its globally known title to the Champagne region in northeast France where only true Champagne is said to originate from. Its distinct effervescence along with its apple, citrus, pear and vanilla notes are owed to Champagne’s Méthode Traditionnelle, its signature production method in which a second fermentation is achieved in the bottle with the addition of yeast and rock sugar.
Produced in the south of France in the country’s largest wine growing region, Bordeaux wines span a range of varieties from Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec to Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, and even sweet white varieties. Yielding a diverse range of flavours from dark fruit and truffles to spices and smoke, these wines range in affordability from everyday table wine to expensive vintages.
Said to have been first produced by Carthusian monks in the 18th century, this naturally green liqueur is famously composed of 130 herbs, plants and flowers, known only at any one time by two or three monks who prepare the flavoured liqueur. Available in both a highly alcoholic green variety, and a sweet, less alcoholic yellow vintage, Chartreuse is a common ingredient in cocktails like Cloister.
Crème de Cassis
Made from blackcurrants and holding a predominantly sweet flavour, Crème de Cassis is a dark red-purple french drink that features popularly in kir cocktails.
Deriving its distinct orange colour and flavour from a production method centred chiefly around orange peels, this classic french drink can be consumed neat or in a variety of cocktails like Margaritas and Long Island Iced Teas. Triple Sec’s orange essence has also found its way into the variant, Grand marnier which uses a brandy base for a more earthy, heavier taste.