15 Popular French Drinks You Should Try While in France

France is well-known for its food, wine and culture. What many people don’t know about France however, are the drinks that they have to offer. The French have a long history of drinking wine and other alcoholic beverages, but they also love coffee and tea. In fact, France is the largest producer of both coffee and tea in Europe.

Did you know that France has some of the best drinks in the world? Whether your taste is for sweet, sour, bitter or spicy, French people have perfected their recipes to create a perfect drink.

The following blog post will introduce you to some of the most popular French drinks that may be new to you. It will also provide an explanation as to why these alcoholic beverages are so popular in France. Enjoy!


Popular French Drinks

Champagne is sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France. It is one of the most popular drinks in French culture.

The first mention of champagne dates back to 1691, when it was referred to as “the best wine that comes from France.” It’s said that there are no records suggesting who actually invented champagne, but it could have been Benedictine monks around 1531.

Champagne has a rich history and tradition in France and is considered an integral part of French culture. When celebrating good times with friends or family, nothing beats a glass (or two) of delicious champagne!


French Cognac is considered one of the best drinks in the world. It has a rich history dating back to 1533, when King François I gifted Catherine de Medici with some cases. The region where Cognac is made is very hilly, which means that vines are grown on steep terraces called “barrages.” This allows all the grapes to ripen evenly, producing grapes with high sugar concentrations and low water content.

Cognacs are graded according to age and quality. Some brands have been around for centuries, so their cognacs have aged for multiple decades! Other types of cognac include VSOP (aged over four years), XO (aged longer than six years) and Extra Old (aged even more).


Popular French Drinks

Absinthe, also known as the “green fairy,” is a very strong alcoholic drink that’s made from many herbs and spices. It was first distilled in Switzerland in the late 1700s but became extremely popular during the French Belle Époque period of 1871-1914.

What makes absinthe so distinct is an ingredient called thujone, which gives the drink its psychoactive effects – similar to THC found in cannabis. In fact, at one time, absinthe contained enough thujone to make people hallucinate after drinking it! The drink has been banned for this reason all over Europe since 1915, but France lifted their restrictions on it in 2011 after new scientific studies showed that there were no harmful effects from thujone.

The traditional absinthe preparation is to pour about three parts absinthe into a glass. Then, you put an Absinthe spoon on the rim of the glass and place a sugar cube (or some drops of simple syrup) on top of it. Finally, you slowly add water over the sugar until it dissolves completely in the drink, creating what’s known as “the louche effect.”


Benedictine is a liqueur with many different herbs and spices, including liquorice root, orange peel, cinnamon and cloves.

It’s most famously used in the cocktail known as “the Singapore Sling.” This drink is very sour with hints of sweet, so it may not be for everyone. But Benedectine is great for people who want to try something new!


Popular French Drinks

Pastis is an anise-flavored alcoholic beverage that dates back to the 1930s when its inventor Henri-Louis Pernod opened his own distillery in France. The drink became extremely popular after World War II when it was introduced to French colonies in North Africa – like Algeria and Tunisia.

The ingredients of pastis include aniseed, licorice root and star anise. While the drink is usually enjoyed with water, pastis can also be used as a substitute for other liquors in cocktails. For example, one recipe known as “the Algerian” consists of pastis, tequila and grenadine syrup. It’s basically a super sweet Margarita!


Brandy is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fruits such as grapes or apples. French brandy must come from grapes grown in the Cognac region of France.

The drink has been around since at least the 17th century when it was popular among English sailors who drank it to prevent scurvy!


Popular French Drinks

Orangina is a carbonated beverage with orange juice as its main flavor.

It was first invented in 1937 by German-born industrialist Hans Schwarz, but it became very popular within France after World War II when the country’s supply of fresh oranges stopped getting imported due to difficulties acquiring raw materials during the war.


Calvados is a French brandy that’s distilled from fermented apples and pears. What makes it unique is its rustic flavor of fruit and spices, which comes from the different types of apples and pears used to make it (over 90 varieties).

The drink was first distilled in the early 1600s when Huguenot immigrants from Normandy, France began producing it in their own stills. It’s traditionally enjoyed at the end of a meal.


Popular French Drinks

Kir is a popular aperitif that dates back to the 1940s in the Burgundy region of France. It’s made from crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) and white wine, which gives it a purple color.

The name kir means “knight” in French, so it’s no surprise that this drink was created as an homage to the men who fought and died for France during World War II!

However, recently there are many different varieties of kir such as rosé, blanc and framboise.

Bordeaux Wine

Bordeaux wine is a type of red wine that comes from the Bordeaux region in France. It’s one of the world’s most famous wines, and it has been popular for centuries.

Bordeaux wine is made with three main grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec. And while all these grapes are grown in other parts of France as well, they’re especially suited to the soil and climate of Bordeaux!

The first thing you’ll notice about Bordeaux wine is its dark color – it ranges from deep purple-red to brownish black. This color stems from the fact that there’s no white sugar added during fermentation like some other types of wines do (like rose wines, for example).

Interestingly, this wine is known as “claret” in England and America – a name which refers to its color (claret means “red” in Old French).


Popular French Drinks

Cacolac is a milk-based drink created in 1954 in Bordeaux, France by the Lanneluc and Lauseig families. Currently Cacolac is available in most parts of France, about 70% is in cafes, hotels, restaurants in bottles and cans.

The history of Cacolac dates back to 1928 with the establishment of the dairy company Laiterie de la Benauge by the Lanneluc and Laeusig families. In 1952 one of his sons, Robert Lauseig, visited the Netherlands and discovered flavored milk.

Upon his return from Holland he was inspired to add cocoa and sugar to the milk before it was sterilized. The result was when in 1954 Cacolac was commercially launched and sold in towns and villages from the back of a van.

Cacolac is only made from milk chocolate although the flavors vary from the original version, hazelnut, and the caramel version of Cacolac.

Biere de Garde

Beer is one of the most popular drinks in France, but there’s actually a unique type of French beer that’s much closer to wine!

Biere de garde (which means “beer for keeping” in French) is brewed with special yeasts that make it taste more like wine than other beers. The color ranges from amber-gold to reddish brown, and many people consider this drink to be an acquired taste.

Triple Sec

Popular French Drinks

Triple sec or triple dry is a type of orange liqueur that’s very popular for cocktails. “Sec” in French means dry, but the term “triple sec” itself is not clear. The first person to make this drink was probably the French bartender Jean-Baptiste Combier.

Traditionally Triple sec is made by distilling dried orange peel with a neutral alcoholic beverage mixture. The high quality triple sec has a strong citrus taste and aroma of bitter orange and orange blossom with an alcohol content of 20-40%.

Triple sec can be consumed straight or in a neat manner in Bartender terms, as a digestive, or on a rock. But it is often used in various cocktails, such as Sangria, Margarita, Kamikaze, White Lady, Sidecar, Corpse Reviver, and others.


Popular French Drinks

Pommeau is an alcoholic drink made in northwest France from a mixture of apple juice and apple brandy. French apple brandy with about 16-20% ABV. It is made by mixing unfermented cider and apple distillate and maturing in oak barrels for at least a year, but usually several years.

In France pommeau is widely available in supermarkets, liquor stores and cafes that offer spirits on their menu list. But in some countries like Italy it can be found only in specialist shops or ordered online at specialized sites.

Pommeau is generally consumed as an aperitif and is popularly served with various desserts such as chocolate or apple dishes. 


Popular French Drinks

Perry (or pear cider) is the name for an alcoholic beverage made from pear juice. It can be naturally produced or industrially manufactured, and this drink varies in sweetness and alcohol content depending on preparation method.

Traditional perry is fermented unpasteurized pear juice; it has a slight sparkle due to natural carbonation resulting from fermentation, and its alcohol content can vary between 2-8%.

Industrial perries are often manufactured using pressed pear juice that’s stored in tanks at temperatures over 30°C (86°F) until fermentation has completed; these perries are clear, sparkling, and much stronger than traditionally prepared drinks with alcohol contents reaching 7-10%.

Final Words

The French drink several cups of coffee every day. They also like to drink alcohol (wine, beer and other beverages) but not more than the average European person.

Drinking water is particularly important in France because of the dry climate; people often carry small bottles on them throughout the day or keep filled glasses at their desks. You can refill your bottle with tap water everywhere without giving it a second thought!

Many of reading this probably think about traditional French food, but French drinks are just as famous in France! So next time you’re in Paris or just about anywhere in France, be sure to try some of these delicious beverages.

What’s your favorite French drink? Do you have a local version of any of these drinks in your country? Have you ever tried traditional perry or pommeau? Share in the comments below!

Read more: 15 Popular Italian Drinks

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