July 14th is a very special day if you’re French (or have a taste for things like stinky cheese and black berets). It’s Bastille Day, the day that France celebrates its independence from the tyranny of monarchy. Kind of like our 4th of July, but with guillotines.
Most importantly of all, it’s a great excuse to bust out your favorite French liqueurs and spirits. Without a tipple or two, Bastille Day wouldn’t be very fun! Here are some of our favorite French drinks to enjoy -- as they say in Paris, chin chin!
Pastis de Marseilles
Marseilles is the belle of the South. Famous for being the gateway to the lavender fields and rugged mountains of Provence, its painted yellow houses and ancient port, this city on the glamorous Cote d’Azur is home to the legendary Pastis. This is an herbal spirit primarily derived from Anise seed. It has a gorgeous brown-amber color and is served in a tall, thin glass filled with ice. Once the liqueur makes contact with the ice it turns cloudy gray, and it makes for a refreshing, liquorice-flavored libation. For maximum Frenchness, we suggest you enjoy your Pastis de Marseilles while playing petanque, the French pastime equivalent to baseball. You can find Pastis at Liquor Barn.
Surely you don’t need an introduction to the world’s most famous, most sought-after bubbly? Champagne hails from the region northeast of Paris, near the border with Belgium. The rolling chalk hills of the countryside here are perfect for growing the grapes that become the fizzy whitish-yellow wine most commonly associated with weddings, winning the World Series, and other major celebrations (like Bastille Day). You can find Champagne at Liquor Barn.
If you want to make a cocktail that oozes sophistication, savoire faire, and other French terms for know-how and cool, you need Elderflower liqueur. A good one to start with is the French Blonde, a drink that is honeyed in its sweetness with just a spritz of citrus thanks to grapefruit juice and lemon bitters. Don’t forget a fancy stemmed glass to serve this one with. You can find St Germain and other Elderflower liqueur at Liquor Barn.
There’s French, and then there’s made in a single monastery in the French Alps for the last 250 years French. Chartreuse is the namesake for that distinct color of green that you see on a lot of dresses in the summer. It’s also a name for a complex liqueur derived from 130 different herbs and plants, many of them unique species that grow only in the Alpine region of eastern France. It has a strong vegetal taste, so it’s generally not recommended you drink it straight. On the other hand, it makes a great complement to cocktails. The Beauty Spot, which combines gin, red vermouth, and green chartreuse, is a classic way to experience this uniquely French alcohol. You can find Green Chartreuse at Liquor Barn.