When it comes to French history, what could be more important than the French Revolution? It makes sense that there should be a drink named after it. 1789, which is also the year the Revolution commenced, is a cocktail created by a Parisian bartender as a way to commemorate and celebrate this event of great historical importance. This is the perfect cocktail for those who enjoy drinks on the sweeter side, as the recipe calls for white wine, whiskey, and Lillet; a sweet and citrus flavored French aperitif.
The French 75
Known as the ’75 Cocktail’, simply ‘the 75’, or le Soixante-Quinze if you are in France, this cocktail calls for four ingredients; gin, champagne, lemon juice, and sugar. The drink was created during the First World War and was dubbed the 75 because it’s so strong it feels like being shot with a French 75mm gun. The cocktail was created in what is probably the most famous cocktail bar in Parisian history, Harry’s New York Bar.
The Sidecar is another famous cocktail created in Paris. What isn’t known for sure, is where. There are accounts of the drink being served at Harry’s New York Bar, but there are also those who say it was created at The Ritz. Wherever it was concocted, it is said to have been invented because a regular would arrive at the bar after riding his motorcycle with a sidecar, wanting a drink straight away. The drink is a simple mixture of brandy or cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice.
This cocktail gets its name from its eye-catching pink color. It was created in the late 1920s, at the Chatham, a renowned Parisian bar. The vermouth-based beverage is served in a martini glass with a cherry on top. In addition to being the most popular cocktail bar in Paris during the greater half of the 20th century, Harry’s New York Bar also published a few books featuring drink recipes. The Rose was featured in “Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails.”
The Ritz in Paris was just as popular as Harry’s New York Bar for cocktails in the 20th century, so it is no wonder there are a few drinks on our list that were created there. The Mimosa is said to have been created at The Ritz in Paris by bartender Frank Meier. It was most likely named after the flower by the same name, thanks to the yellow color of the drink. The recipe calls for two simple ingredients; champagne and orange juice. It is normally served in a champagne flute at brunch. Champagne for breakfast? Sign us up.
The Kir and The Kir Royal
This cocktail didn’t originate in Paris, but it is so popular in France that it deserves a spot on our list. If you have ever been to an authentic French luncheon, you know that they always begin with a drink. Most likely, it was an aperitif of Kir, or, if it was a really special occasion, a Kir Royale. Kir is a French aperitif, and is a the result of a concoction of white wine and a fruit liqueur called Crème de Cassis. The mixture originated in Burgundy, but was a huge success all over the country. A Kir Royale is a bit different from the Kir, as it uses champagne instead of white wine. So, the next time there is something to celebrate, why not add a bit of Crème de Cassis to your champagne?
Is it even possible to talk about Parisian drinks without mentioning the ‘Green Fairy’? Even though it originally came out of Switzerland in the late 18th century, the infamous green beverage rose to popularity in Paris in the late 19th and early 20th century. Doctor Pierre Ordinaire created the green drink for medicinal purposes in 1792. This drink has since been a favorite of Parisians, particularly among artists and writers (who, during the Belle Epoque, opted for cheap absinthe over wine). Some of the most famous people associated with this drink are Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Auguste Renoir, Ernest Hemingway, Charles Baudelaire, Pablo Picasso, and Oscar Wilde. Absinthe production became forbidden in France in 1915, so as to fight against alcoholism. The psychoactive properties of the drink have been deeply exaggerated and it is now produced in a dozen countries, one of which is, of course, France.