The fine art of French drinking
By Meg Caswell
From world famous singers like Edith Piaf to film icons such as Brigitte Bardot, France has fostered some of the world’s most iconic figures to date. Paris, in particular, maintains its reputation as a cultural and social hub, forever exhibiting the latest trends in fashion, art and music. However, it is not only France’s artistic achievements that have come to shape the country’s national and global identity. France holds a worldwide reputation as a country with a thriving gastronomic culture. Drinking customs and traditions, especially, have played a key role in building and defining France’s gastronomic reputation throughout the ages. From the country’s most popular Parisian nightclub, to the smallest suburb of the French countryside, France’s drinking heritage is celebrated today in both public and domestic settings across the country.
Paris is home to one of the most famous bar and nightlife scenes in the world. Whilst well known nightclubs such as ‘the VIP room’ and ‘Le Nouveau Casino’ are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, the capital city also provides the perfect setting for France’s thriving cocktail culture. Parisian bars such as ‘L’Experimental Cocktail Club’ and ‘Sherry Butt’ have gained global recognition for their innovative contribution to the modern cocktail scene. Although the city in its entirety acts as a hub of night time activity for tourists and natives alike, the Oberkampf area in the eleventh arrondissement is a proven favourite amongst Parisian locals. This area is home to an array of hidden gems such as ‘La Gouttière’ and ‘La Marquise’ which offer classic and innovative cocktails in a relaxed, casual atmosphere. ‘Le Kitch’, in particular, is a bar to look out for; the establishment’s house speciality is a gin-based cocktail called ‘LeShrek’ which is, naturally, green and garnished with marshmallows. This is a perfect location if you are looking for an on-trend bar that serves unique cocktails in a laid-back setting.
Given the indisputable popularity of the cocktail scene in France, it is unsurprising that white spirits have experienced rising success on the French market. Whilst vodka and rum-based concoctions enjoy increasing popularity to this day, gin-based cocktails remain a favourite amongst the country’s fervent bar-goers. Although gin was first developed for medicinal purposes by a 17th century Dutch physician, the word gin itself originates in part from the French language. Gin is a contraction of the French word for juniper (genièvre), referring to the Juniper berries from which gins are traditionally distilled. Since the drink’s booming popularity in the 1800’s in France, gin has enjoyed a reputation as one of the big names amongst the country’s leading spirits. From innovative cocktails such as ‘le Shrek’ to popular classics like the Vesper Martini and the G&T, gin remains a popular base for both classic and innovative cocktails in Paris’ most renowned bars.
Whilst we associate the Parisian bar culture with innovation and cutting edge style, longstanding drinking traditions form a quintessential element of France’s gastronomic heritage. The country’s thriving drinking culture is by no means restricted to life in the big cities, but is celebrated in localities on a national scale. Having held an important place in French households for hundreds of years, local drinking traditions still play a key role in convivial situations to this day. These regional and national traditions are most typically celebrated at casual gatherings with family and friends. One such custom is the consumption of an appetite-stimulating apéritif before a meal. For this popular tradition, the French favour light and refreshing alcohols such as Pineau, a sweet and tasty wine from the Charentais region.
Given the popularity of domestically produced aperitifs like Pineau along with the lucrative vineyards located in the South of France, it is no wonder that France has gained a global reputation as a country of fine and quality wines. However, it is not wines alone that have contributed to France’s gastronomic heritage. From the famous orchards of Normandy to the commune of Cognac, spirits and ciders form important symbols of France’s gastronomic success both past and present. Strong and tasty liquors and spirits such as cognac, for example, remain a popular choice for the French digestif, a drink that is typically consumed after a meal. The fact that so many of these traditional drinks are produced and distilled in local French regions serves as a testament to the country’s extensive gastronomic success.
As a versatile gin designed to be consumed both straight and in a cocktail, Daffy’s Gin has been cultivated in a manner that compliments the varying drinking traditions within France. Whether you are planning a sophisticated night out in Paris, or simply sharing a convivial moment with friends, Daffy’s gin is the perfect accompaniment to help you finish or start an evening in style.
Having begun its life in the form of a single source grain spirit in Northern France, Daffy’s Gin is soon set to return to its French origins. Daffy’s will be taking the Parisian bar and nightclub scene by storm in the very near future, and we hope that you can join us on our French adventure!
Meg is a University student with a passion for adventure. She loves travelling, skiing, and the world of gastronomy. Meg absolutely adores the French culture and lifestyle, with her currently fulfilling her dream venture and embracing her ‘inner French’ in the small town of Ruffec, France. Other interests include world cinema, modern literature and fashion. Dislikes fast food and negativity. Always searching for new cultures to discover and new adventures to pursue.