Discover 10 French cocktails that will make you say ooh-la-la.
French cocktails aren’t as famous as French wine but maybe they should be.
They’re tasty. They’re fun. And they have that je ne sais quoi that only exists in French cities like Paris, Lyon and Strasbourg.
The French don’t say cheers when they make toasts. They say santé instead.
Drinking French Cocktails in France
There’s something special about drinking French cocktails in France and especially in Paris. After all, Paris is the city where Harry MacElhone first mixed iconic cocktails like the Boulevardier, French 75, Sidecar and White Lady.
Ironically, many travelers don’t associate France with cocktails as they do with neighboring Italy. It’s ironic because the French produce excellent liquors including Chartreuse, Cognac, Cointreau and Pastis. And, while the French didn’t invent Absinthe, they popularized the controversial liquor more than a century ago.
Drinking French Cocktails at Home
French cocktails are surprisingly easy to craft at home despite their sophistication. They’re also diverse – some French cocktails double as bourbon bombshells while others sparkle both in the glass and on the tongue. And, in a fun twist, one French cocktail wasn’t actually invented in France.
These are our favorite French cocktail recipes:
10 of the Best French Cocktails
Are you craving a sophisticated cocktail made with gin and champagne? If so, try our classic French 75 recipe with Cointreau added for balance and an extra punch. You can make it at home with just five ingredients plus ice.
The Boulevardier cocktail is a Negroni crafted with bourbon instead of gin. Follow our easy recipe and craft a Boulevardier at home in just five minutes.
Drinking a Mauresque Cocktail with Ricard Pastis de Marseille is one of the greatest joys of visiting Marseille. Llearn how to make the pastis cocktail at home with just four ingredients.
With just three ingredients, the Kir Royale is proof that less can be more. An elegant drink that's super easy to craft at home, this Champagne cocktail is appropriately festive for any holiday or special occasion.
Our Sidecar cocktail takes the classic cocktail to new heights by replacing cognac with bourbon. Craft one at home in just five minutes.
The Old Pal is a boozier version of the Negroni and Boulevardier. It's also delicious. Craft one at home in just five minutes and find out if the Old Pal will be your new best friend.
Between the Sheets
Despite its name, the Between the Sheets Cocktail is a sophisticated sipper that you can order at a fancy bar or craft at home with just a handful of ingredients. Follow our easy recipe if you prefer the latter option.
Our easy Tomate cocktail recipe has just has four ingredients including water and ice. You'll be tempted to sip this refreshing drink on a hot summer day, but it's also the perfect color to serve at a Christmas party or other festive event.
Proving that you shouldn't judge a cocktail by its name, the White Lady Cocktail is a classic drink that's appropriate for multicultural cocktail connoisseurs. Learn how to craft a White Lady cocktail at home in just five minutes.
The French Connection cocktail has a fun name and is super easy to craft at home. Just don't confuse its name with its origin. This French Connection wasn't actually invented in France.
Pre-Prohibition Cocktail FAQs
With the exception of the French Connection cocktail, French cocktails are cocktails that were invented in France. Typical ingredients include Gin, Pastis and Champagne.
While numerous French cocktails are popular both in France and beyond, the Kir Royale and Sidecar are the most iconic French cocktails.
While it’s always a good time to drink French cocktails, the best time is typically in the early evening since many French cocktails are wonderful apertifs.
France is obviously the best place to drink French cocktails. However, it’s also fun to drink French cocktails at bars around the world and to craft them at home.
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
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Original Publication Date: April 7, 2023