Ask any Frenchman or woman you know and they'll raise an eyebrow at the thought of sipping a red wine in the middle of the day. They're much more likely to order something different and save the red wine for lunch or dinner,
always pairing it with food.
Now that I've burst your bubble, should that ruin your
Audrey Hepburn moment in Paris?
Absolutely not! Here's what you may consider drinking in place of that mythical red:
Kir or Kir Royale
Cocktails: Sidecar, French 75 or Black Rose
into some pretty outrageous concoctions. Ricard and Pernod are the most famous brands. Drink it like a local by pouring some into a tall beverage glass (it's fairly clear), then add cold water (now it appears milky!). Whatever you do, don't add ice, at least not until the pastis and water have already mixed.
If you like black licorice, you're going to love this drink.
Lillet hails from the Bordeaux region. It comes in both white and red, the white being more available and popular as an aperitif. It's a mix of Bordeaux white, mysterious herbs and a variety of orange peels, both sweet and bitter. Served cold, it's often accompanied by the peel of either an orange or a lime. Sometimes served on ice in a short glass, other times it arrives in a wine glass. Popular but sometimes hard to find in Paris. Guess who else enjoys its honeyed flavors: Hannibal Lector, James Bond and Carmela Soprano. Draw your own conclusions!
Kir is white wine (usually chadonnay or chablis) mixed with creme de cassis (blackcurrant liquer) or occasionally with creme de mûre (blackberry), pêche (peach) or violet. Named after Felix Kir, one-time mayor of Dijon, it became famous after WWII when the famous red Burgundies were in short supply due to the plundering Nazis, who collected thousands of bottles of the precious red nectar. The bad guys left the whites behind for the most part so someone got enterprising and invented - ta-da - the Kir. A kir royale substitutes champagne for the white wine. Everyone pours this drink differently, sometimes it's a bit too sweet because of the ratio of liquer to wine. Light and refreshing plus easy to pronounce!
Suze is truly out of the ordinary. At first startled by it's almost bitter taste, I grew into it, enjoying its slightly medicinal flavor. Invented in Paris in the late 1800's, it was sometimes used as an herbal medicine to treat digestive problems. Gentian and bitters make up most of the unforgettable flavor. You will probably love it or hate it so if you're into gambling, take a chance and give it a try. Picasso must have had a taste for this abstract beverage. He featured it front and center in his collage Glass and a Bottle of Suze in 1912.
Champagne is synonymous with France, with wine, with sheer pleasure. Any time of day is right to drink the bubbly and in Paris, you'll see it as the beverage of choice in many different situations.
When in doubt, just order une coupe de champagne. Stylish and delicious.
Beer just makes sense. Both popular and spectacular, beer is the beverage of choice for many in Paris. After all, the French embraced brasseries as their own creation. The word brasserie doesn't just mean delicious food, it actually means brewery. Some popular brands are Kronenbourg 1664, Jenlain Blonde, Stella Artois (from next-door neighbor Belgium) and many micro-brews. Are you thirsty yet?
Cocktails are on-trend right now. They're everywhere and pretty much anything goes, especially with the younger crowd. A Sidecar is classic Hollywood fare and includes cognac, Cointreau (a delicious orange liquer that hails from Angers, France) and lemon juice. The French 75 (supposedly named after the kick you get from a French 75 gun) mixes gin, champagne, lemon and sugar in a lethal dose. Beware! I've seen several different recipes for a Black Rose which makes me wonder about its origin but most include grenadine syrup, cognac, and bitters with some muddled blackberries during the season. I must also
mention Jack Daniels Whiskey from my home state of Tennessee. Whenever French people ask about where I'm from, they always smile and either say Elvis or Jack. That says a lot for their taste.
But then we knew that.
Enjoy your wine but remember all the other choices out there.
Cheers to all of you and thanks for visiting my blog!