What to Drink for Bastille Day

Any drink you serve at a Bastille Day party must cover two bases: It has to be French and it has to be refreshing—after all, unless you live in the Southern Hemisphere, for must of us, Bastille Day falls during that stretch of summer when temperatures start to really climb.

Here are my five top drink choices for toasting the day.

1. A Kir Royal….with St. Germaine

You know how much I love my nightly kir (white wine + crème de cassis) and my celebratory kir royale (sparkling wine + crème de cassis). Either will do on any other day of the year, but I think Bastille Day calls for something even more special. Make a Kir Royal with St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur…

The French spirit is made from macerated elderflowers; thankfully it’s more about a citrusy, pear-like freshness than it is about the floral notes, which are present, but not overly so. To make, simply place a tablespoon of St. Germain in a Champagne glass and fill it with about 5 ounces of sparkling wine.

2. A French Sparkling Wine

You can’t go wrong with sparkling wine when celebrating.

Wait a minute—strike that. Yes you can. Frankly, on these super-hot days of summer a toasty-dry Champagne just won’t do. I suggest toasting with something more fruity and light—such as a sparkling wine from the Loire Valley (crémant de Loire). Wines from this region are often off-dry (that is, a touch sweet). While winemakers can choose from about a dozen grape varieties to craft their blends, the most renown whites are anchored by Chenin Blanc, resulting in sparkling wines with a great balance of fruit and citrus notes.

Blanquette de Limoux: An easy-drinking wine that’s hard to find.

If you live near an incredibly well stocked supermarket, look for Blanquette de Limoux, a very easy-drinking sparkling wine from the Languedoc-Roussillon. To me, it’s like a cross between a Prosecco and a Moscato d’Asti: fruity, fun, and easy to like (unless your a close-minded dry-wine-only freak).

3. A French 75

For too many people “sweet” or “fruity” (mistakenly) means “unsophisticated.” For my [somewhat annoying] guests who are in that camp—those who might turn their noses up at my bright and fruity summer sparkling wines—I’ll morph the above Crémant de Loire (or Blanquette de Limoux) into a citrusy-tart French 75. They’ll get a drink that’s racy and refreshing. And because it’s spiked with gin, maybe their attitude will mellow a bit. Find my recipe here.

4. Pernod, Ricard, or Pastis

This is a classic South-of-France drink when the temperatures climb. For Bastille Day, I suggest doing something a bit different with it, however, and serving it in a cocktail: Either in un perroquet (with mint syrup) or in une tomate (with grenadine). See my recipes.

5. Une Piscine de Rosé (i.e., a goblet of rosé served over ice)

Yes–I know I’ve written about this trend lately, but it bears repeating. Because honestly, it’s what I’ll be serving this Friday, on the balcony and into the night. In case you’ve missed it, read about La Piscine here.

By the way—a winery has launched a new wine in France called Rosé Piscine—it’s a rosé specifically designed to drink on ice. Please don’t think for a minute that you have to buy this particular rosé. Really, just about any good, crisp rosé will do. But since it’s Bastille Day, please make it French.

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

This Year’s Bastille Day Party Menu (It’s Easier Than Ever)
Host/Hostess Gifts for Bastille Day
Five Great French Apéritifs + Your Complete Guide to the Apéritif

Alors, what will you be drinking this Bastille Day? Tell me below—or on my Chez Bonne Femme Facebook Page.

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