Here are just a few suggestions:-
Popular throughout France, the Kir Royale is pretty much an anytime, anywhere kind of cocktail. Legend has it that Blanc-cassis, a white wine and crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur made in Burgundy) mix was popular in Burgundy. It was renamed a Kir in honour of the much loved Major of Dijon, Felix Kir. No one knows who decided to try Champagne instead of white wine but the idea caught on pretty quickly.
You can of course use any dry sparkling wine or moderately priced Champagne with the Crème de Cassis. The latter is quite sweet so I’ll only add a little to each glass — 2 to 3 teaspoons will do it. Substitutes for Crème de Cassis are Crème de Framboise (raspberry), Chambord or even Crème de Pêche (peach). To make a perfect Kir Royale, add the liqueur (Crème de Cassis) first then fill the glass with the Champagne or sparkling wine. This way, the drink mixes while you pour. Check the taste before serving or adding more cassis.
If you’d like something sweeter try the one below.
This is a recipe from Chambord Liqueur which is produced in the Loire Valley. The recipe was created in 1685 during Louis XIV’s visit to the Chateau of Chambord. The liquer is sold in distinctive round bottles with posh stoppers that look like regal perfume bottles. The deep purple liqueur is flavoured with vanilla and cognac. For a Chambord kiss just mix 2 parts of Irish Cream to one part Chambord and serve over ice.
This is our “House Cocktail” and is a spin on the Kir Royale, served in a larger glass with the addition of 3tbsp of Grand Marnier or Cointreau.
You’ll find the recipe and more here.
This (pictured above) was dreamt up by my beloved in his capacity of Officer in Charge of Drinks during the first lockdown. Instead of Aperol, it uses Limoncello, fresh lemon juice, bruised basil leaves and a twist of lemon.
This was an invention or Ernest Hemingway, a man who’d propped up plenty of bars. It takes a bit of genius and a bit of madness to come up with the idea of mixing madness inducing absinthe with Champagne. The writer recommended three to five of these drunk slowly from a Champagne glass for optimal effect. Not for the faint hearted the mix consists of “a jigger of absinthe” according to Hemingway and enough Champagne to make it look milky, approx. 1 part absinthe to 3 parts Champagne.
The Sidecar’s history has long been debated, but one legend involves an American captain who often travelled to a Parisian bar in the sidecar of his friend’s motorbike! Simply shake two parts Cointreau with two parts Cognac and one part lemon juice. Jazz it up with a sugar-rimmed glass.
Named after the fourth Musketeer, a native of Gascony and the birthplace of Armagnac is made with 1 tbsp Armagnac, 1 tbsp Grand Marnier, 4 tbsp fresh orange juice and 1/2 tbsp simple sugar syrup shaken with ice, strained into a chilled glass and topped up with Champagne.
Lipsmackingly sweet and sour, the Cosmopolitan cocktail of vodka, cranberry, orange liqueur and citrus is a good-time in a glass. Perfect for a party! Shake 6tbsp vodka, 2 tbsp orange liquer, 4 tbsp cranberry juice, 2 tbsp lime juice over ice and serve with a twist of lime.
For more cocktail recipes, check here. The Barefoot Contessa is the Queen of Cocktail Parties! I’m still waiting for my invite to one.
Equally acceptable at any party on the French Riviera is a perfectly chilled and crisp, local rosé wine.