Here are seven favorite French drinks that are very much part of my French life.

Favorite French drinks: “Un café,” “une noisette s’il vous plaît.”

“Le café” (always refers to an espresso in France.) May turn into “un(e) noisette” (a shot of espresso with a dash of milk.) Best enjoyed “au zinc” (at the counter) in places you are familiar with, “en salle” (on a rainy day) or “en terrasse” (whenever possible.)

Favorite French drinks: “Le verre de vin”

Comes in red, white or rosé. Best enjoyed for “l’apéro” (before lunch or dinner) ideally with some munchies for a touch of saltiness. Hold the (cold) popcorn. I prefer peanuts – or slices of “saucisson.” Who says I am high maintenance?

Red wine glass with peanuts on the side

Le verre de vin (rouge)

Favorite French drinks: “Le Vittel menthe” (a.k.a. “menthe à l’eau”)

A dash of mint syrup with mineral water. Nostalgic, a favorite childhood memory. So refreshing and satisfying after a long afternoon walk on a hot day! Can be coupled with his friend “Le diabolo fraise” (strawberry syrup with lemon soda.) Aren’t they pretty together?

2 pink glasses 1 green glass on a countertop

Un Vittel menthe. Deux Diabolo fraise

Favorite French drinks: Le Kir Royal

Entering serious business now. A fun, colorful “apéro” (apéritif) drink, so popular still! “Le Kir” (with white wine) or “Kir Royal” (with bubbly.) Hails from Burgundy. Enjoy it the traditional way with “Crème de cassis” (black currant liquor) or be original and go for blackberry, peach or raspberry-flavored liquors.

Personal pet peeve: It may be spelled differently in foreign lands. Here in France, “Royal” doesn’t have an “e” at the end. Kir is masculine, like the gentleman who invented it, Félix Kir, a secular priest and once the deputy-mayor of the city of Dijon. Merci!

Favorite French drinks Kir Royal Two champagne flutes with a pink drink

Le délicieux Kir Royal

Favorite French drinks: “la coupe”

The elegant touch. Popular after work (even better with fun co-workers.) “Une coupe, s’il vous plaît!” It may not be served in a “coupe” or even “une flûte” these days, but every French waiter knows what you are referring to. Champagne, of course.

Champagne flutes on a table

“Une coupe, s’il vous plaît”

Favorite French drinks: La carafe d’eau

The French know how to stay hydrated! “La Carafe d’eau.” Always free. Let the waiter know you don’t intend to pay for water during your meal. May be humorously referred to as “l’eau municipale,” “l’eau communale” or (less often these days) “Un Château la Pompe.”

Bottle of tap water on a table

La carafe d’eau

What about you? Any favorites?

Véronique - France with Véro
Véronique of France with Véro

Véronique of France with Véro

Vero shares her homeland weekly on social media with virtual tours, photo essays, live events and other publications at France with Vero. Learn more.

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