Just like their cuisine, the French know how to create cocktails with balanced flavors and the best ingredients.
Some of the most famous cocktails, which are known globally, have originated in France and you can recreate them in your own home.
You could even have a French-themed cocktail party by raiding the liqueur cabinet, stocking up on ice, and filling a cocktail shaker.
From the French 75 to the Kir Royale, the Boulevardier, and the Sidecar, there are several cocktails to choose from.
Some of the most famed cocktails have come from France so they are worth trying. In this guide, we will look at ten of the classic French cocktails.
1. French 75
Perhaps the most well-known French cocktail is known by a single number. You could simply utter the number, Soixante Quinze, in a French bar and the server would know exactly what you wanted.
The cocktail dates back to World War I and remains highly popular. To make your own, grab a Champagne glass, some gin, and some Champagne.
You may also need to make a simple syrup from either sugar or honey which may only take five minutes.
Fill your cocktail shaker and pour two parts of a dry gin, one part of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and one part of simple syrup to shake vigorously.
Pour the mixture into your Champagne glass then top up with four parts of Champagne.
2. Kir Royale
By combining sparkling wine with blackcurrant liqueur, a Kir Royale is a refreshing and sophisticated cocktail.
The berries simply go so well with the bubbles for such a simple recipe, you can find yourself sipping one and savoring it for quite some time.
For a slight variation, you could create a Kir which simply uses dry white wine instead of sparkling wine.
The cocktail is actually named after Felix Kir, a priest who became a hero during World War II and became mayor of Dijon from 1945 up to 1968.
You will need one part of crème de cassis, which is a French blackcurrant liqueur, though you can use Chambord or crème de mure. Top that off with sparkling wine, ideally Champagne, but you can use Prosecco too.
For a suitable garnish, throw in a couple of fresh raspberries and watch how the bubbles play.
For a chic French cocktail, look no further than the French Gimlet.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add one and a half ounces of St Germain (a liqueur made from elderflowers), two ounces of gin, and half an ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice.
Shake vigorously until cold, strain, and garnish with a wedge of lime.
If you have a Martini glass, you should surely try to create a French Martini. This is another cocktail that uses the taste of berries and other fruits really cleverly.
First, fill your cocktail shaker with ice and pour in two ounces of vodka, half an ounce of Chambord liqueur, and one and a half ounces of pineapple juice.
Shake vigorously and pour into chilled Martini glasses then use a fresh raspberry and a twist of lemon for garnishes.
With just two ingredients, you can create one of the most decadent and classic French cocktails.
The French Connection is not just a great Seventies film starring Gene Hackman, but a cocktail that is so sophisticated, you will want to spend a long time sipping one.
Make sure you use a great brandy such as a French Cognac which is either a VS, VSOP, or XO.
Simply add a few ice cubes to an Old Fashioned glass and add equal amounts of Cognac and Amaretto liqueur then stir to combine.
6. Black Rose
Like the Kir Royale, a Black Rose uses berries and bubbles for a deliciously balanced flavor.
You will also need to create a blackberry syrup from blackberries, water, granulated sugar, lemon zest, and thyme sprigs.
Add the syrup to a cocktail shaker with premium gin, ice, and a lime wheel to muddle and shake well. Strain the mixture into a goblet over ice and then top with Indian tonic water and a rosemary sprig.
In French, a boulevardier is a man-about-town and the cocktail was created by the publisher of a magazine by the same name.
Erskine Gwynne was the publisher of ‘Boulevardier’ which was a magazine for expats who lived in Paris in the 1920s.
Use a mixing glass with ice and combine an ounce each of Campari and sweet vermouth with just over an ounce of Bourbon. Stir until chilled and pour into a rocks glass with some more fresh ice.
For a simple French cocktail, you only need two or three ingredients and that’s certainly the case for a Sidecar. This is an intriguing mix of orange liqueur, brandy, and fresh lemon juice.
The cocktail also originated in the 1920s and became popular in Paris as well as London. Try to use the best ingredients as it will make a real difference to how good your Sidecar is.
For the brandy, use a VSOP cognac or an excellent Armagnac and you can play with the proportions.
Maybe a bit more Cointreau if you prefer that rather than the tart lemon. For a single serving, create a sugar rim by running a lemon wedge around the rim of a cocktail glass and then dipping it in a plate of superfine sugar.
Combine two ounces of brandy with an ounce of Cointreau, and three-quarters of an ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice with ice then pour into the glass.
The Serendipity is said to originate from the Ritz Paris Hotel and can be truly refreshing. Place a few fresh mint leaves in a highball glass and muddle with a teaspoon of sugar.
Pour in around 30ml of apple juice and 20ml of Calvados. Finish off the cocktail by topping it off with Champagne.
Yes, this cocktail has a somewhat NSFW name but what would you expect if it was created in a French brothel? This cocktail is also truly simple to create with an ice-filled cocktail shaker and just a few ingredients.
Simply add one ounce of Cognac, one ounce of light rum, one part of triple sec, and a quarter-ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice to the shaker.
Shake until chilled and pour into a cocktail glass.
Bonus Section: Spirits And Mixers
Some cocktails are so simple that you can simply classify them as spirits and mixers. This includes a Suze and Tonic, a Chambord, Lime, and Tonic, as well as a Jacqueline.
The spirit in a Suze and Tonic is Suze which is an earthy, floral, and bitter French apéritif.
Creating the cocktail is simple enough, fill a Collins glass with a few ice cubes and then pour in one and a half ounces of Suze, an ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and around three dashes of Angostura bitters.
Give that a stir and then top it off with five ounces of chilled dry tonic.
This Chambord cocktail should have a tang to it, as well as be refreshing and brightly colored. The sweetness of the Chambord should be leveled out by the lime and tonic for an incredibly balanced drink.
Fill a whiskey glass with ice and pour over two ounces of Chambord, add freshly squeezed lime juice to taste, and top off with tonic water.
Give the mixture a stir to fully incorporate the ingredients and take your time with it.
For a lighter cocktail, try mixing white wine with lemonade and grenadine.
Throw a few ice cubes into your glass and then pour in one part of Grenadine, eight parts of dry white wine, and top up with two parts of lemonade. Give it a stir and then serve.
The French are well-known for their cuisine but you may be surprised to learn of how many classic cocktails they have created.
Some are effortlessly simple, like the Boulevardier or the French Connection yet some require a few specialist ingredients. This includes Chambord, Suze, and only the finest Cognac if you want the best taste.
If you want truly classic French cocktails then look no further than the French 75 and a Kir Royale. For their popularity, you may expect some more complex drinks yet simplicity is key.
You will still need to find some crème de cassis for the Kir Royale and create a simple syrup for the French 75 yet ensure you have a bubbly Champagne and you cannot go wrong.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Cocktail Is France Most Famous For?
France has many cocktails to choose from yet perhaps the most quintessentially French one of them all is a Kir Royale.
The cocktail combines berries and bubbles in the form of a blackcurrant liqueur and sparkling wine, typically Champagne.
However, the Kir Royale is actually a variation of another French cocktail which is the Kir. The telling difference is that a Kir is made with dry white wine instead of sparkling wine.
What Is Considered To Be France’s National Drink?
You could say that Pastis is an emblem of France and is certainly considered to be their national drink.
The liqueur is flavored by either anise or licorice which is commonly found in the south of France. If it is not the national drink of France, it is the quintessential drink in Provence.