French Inspired Cocktails That Every Cocktail-Lover Should Know

he breezy concoction of libations, sugar, bitters, fresh juices and ice formed a cocktail culture in France right back in the 1800s. A cocktail is now a piece of art in a glass, a perfect mixture of pleasure. Let us take a look at the refined modern drinks that were inspired by La Ville lumière. Make sure to try these out on your next wine tour to Paris.

The 1789

Named after the year of the Bastille, the French Revolution, a Parisian bartender created this cocktail to celebrate the victory against the monarchical oppression. The cocktail places itself towards the sweeter side and the recipe calls for Bonal Quina (or any other aperitif white wine), Lillet and Bastille whiskey. Lillet comes in aromas and flavors of honey, mint, citrus and pine imparting the bitter and sweet taste to the drink.

The French 75

The French 75 was first Created at Harry’s Bar in Paris and later popularized by The Stork Club in New York City. It was something created to have such a kick like being shelled by the with the powerful French 75-millimeter (M1897) field gun. A bubbly concoction of gin, champagne, lemon juice and sugar syrup, it is best served in a chilled champagne, rocks or Collins glass. You can add blackberries, oranges, or strawberries for an added color and flavor.

The Sidecar

The glowing golden orange beauty came into prominence during the WWI. There is a debate about the origin of this drink. Some claim that it was created at the Ritz, Paris, while others believe that it has a British heritage. The French version of this drink combines equal parts of Cognac or Armagnac or bourbon with triple sec orange liqueur (Cointreau or Grand Marnier) and lemon juice. Serve this drink in a cocktail glass and sugar the rim of the glass or add extra sugar syrup for sweetness.

The Rose

The cocktail is named after its flowery pink color and was first created in the 1920’s by Johnny Mitta, barman at the Chatham Hotel, Paris by combining dry French Vermouth, Kirschwasser or Cherry Brandy, dry Gin and raspberry or strawberry syrup. Serve it in prechilled cocktail glass and garnish it with a maraschino cherry.

The Mimosa

The bright and sunny yellow concoction gets its name from the color of the mimosa flower. It was first created by bartender Frank Meier at The Ritz in Paris. It contains equal parts champagne (or any other sparkling wine) and chilled citrus juice, like oranges, grapefruits or tangerines. These are served in chilled champagne flutes for brunches. You can replace citrus juices with apricots, cranberries, pineapples, and watermelons for creativity.

The Pepa

This cocktail is named after Pépa Bonafé, a French starlet from the 1920s. It is created by stirring in dry vermouth like Noilly Prat, cognac such as Ferrand Ambre, Remy Martin VSOP, or Hennessy Black, vodka, such as Stolichnaya and a dash of Angostura bitters with a bar spoon into a cocktail shaker filled with crushed ice and then served in a cocktail glass.

The French Blonde

The French Blonde is a glamorous cocktail, an ethereal floral and fruity citrus drink, served before a meal or to warm up a classy evening. It features Lillet, an aperitif blend of Bordeaux wines, citrus liqueur or elderflower liqueur, like St. Germain, Broker’s dry gin and accentuated with freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. Strain, serve this is drink in a chilled martini glass and garnish it with a piece of lemon rind and a sprig of rosemary.

The French Connection

This is an elegant two-ingredient drink that has to be enjoyed by slow sipping. The drink is inspired by Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris and makes a perfect after-dinner drink or nightcap. The drink is created by combining equal parts of Cognac and Amaretto liqueur. The drink is smooth and royal with the Cognac that blends well into the almond aroma of Amaretto. The drink is served in a rock glass without any garnish.

The Lumiere

This beautiful light green drink was inspired by the Oscar-nominated Hugo and created by Nitehawk Cinema’s Beverage Director Jen Marshall. This is a delicious, herbal, citrus cocktail created by combining gin, elderflower liqueur (St. Germain), Green Chartreuse, lime juice and a dash of citrus bitters. The drink is served in a chilled coupe without ice and best enjoy during spring and summers.

The Beauty Spot

This sophisticated cocktail was inspired by the Oscar-winning silent film The Artist and was developed by Nitehawk Cinema’s Beverage Director Jen Marshall. This drink is classy yet contemporary, just like the movie. The drink is created by combining gin, red vermouth and green chartreuse and served in a pre-chilled coup glass garnished with an orange twist. There is another drink with the same name. It is created by combining dry vermouth, sweet vermouth and orange juice and strained into a prechilled cocktail glass drizzled with grenadine.

Tremblement De Terre

Also known as the Earthquake, this intense concoction is adapted from the one served at parties by the French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The drink is created by combining blended whiskey, Pernod absinthe and gin, and it is served shaken in a pre-chilled cocktail glass. This drink is so strong that you would not notice an earthquake, so you can add an ice cube and a splash of water.

The Montparnasse

This French-inspired wine based, fruity cocktail makes use of Calvados, an apple brandy made in the French region of Normandy. The orange colored drink is made by combining Calvados, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, freshly squeezed lemon juice with Sauvignon blanc wine. This drink is served in a pre-chilled martini glass and garnished with a thin slice of apple.

The Kir and the Kir Royale

These are the two iconic French cocktails originated in Burgundy France, and is named after the priest Canon Félix Kir, a hero in the French Resistance during the Second World War. The Kir is made by combining crème de cassis and white wine. Kir Royale differs slightly from Kir in that it is made using Champagne, instead of white wine. While Kir is traditionally served in a regular small white wine glass and Kir Royale is served in a chilled champagne flute.

The Serendipity

This sublime, minty and lively invigorating drink was first created by Colin Field, head bartender of the atmospheric Bar Hemingway at The Ritz, Paris. The drink is created by muddling a sprig of mint leaves in a pre-chilled rocks glass. The glass is then filled with ice cubes. Then Calvados, sugar, clear apple juice and stirred in and topped with champagne. Care is taken not to stir the drink too much as it can cause the speedy release of carbon dioxide bubbles.


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