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What liquor/liqueur should I bring back from Paris?

I'll be going in December and just wondering if there is anything unique that I could buy at the duty free/in the city to take home? I live in Alberta.

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  1. It all depends upon what you personally like. and whether or not you can get it at home, as well as at what price?

    I just returned from France, and brought back a bottle of wine I love that is hard to find here, and if I could, it would be at least $50 USD. I got it there for 21 Euros. a great deal, I thought. I also brought back a bottle of Cognac we love that is no longer available in US.

    That's how I decide what's worth packing.

      1. re: barleywino

        I have never heard of Amer Picon. If I don't buy at duty free, I could probably put in my checked bag, right?

        1. re: sarah galvin

          yes, a friend brought back a bottle for me in his checked bag
          it's the Holy Grail for some bartenders
          good straight or mixed

          1. re: barleywino

            I must try it while I'm there. Thanks.

      2. Grand Marnier. I know you can get it in the US but I SWEAR they keep all the good stuff for France. It's just better. (and if you can find a good deal on the 100 anniversary or 150 anniversary Grand Marnier, buy it! I bought a bottle of the 150th anniversary in Italy for $20 (pre-Euro). It costs $350 in the US!)

        3 Replies
        1. re: Amuse Bouches

          That's quite a mark-up! I might need an extra carry on bag;)

          1. re: Amuse Bouches

            I often see in France a version of Grand Marnier called cordon jaune, with a yellow label as opposed to the more common cordon rouge. It is usually 2 or 3e less per bottle, any idea what the difference is between the jaune and rouge versions?

          2. A Poire William liqueur, with the pear grown in the (usually) elegant bottle, is fun, but may not be available at the duty free.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Veggo

              along the same lines (but no pear inside, although 20 lbs of pears are supposedly used to make one bottle) would be Belle de Brillet pear cognac (not sure whether that is available in Alberta or not) which is much more drinkable than straight Poire William imo

              1. re: barleywino

                I have not seen a pear cognac here. I'll take a look around. Great suggestion.

            2. I usually go with a calvados, but again, it depends on your tastes and what is available at your local liquor store.

              1. A few years ago, I brought back a lovely bottle of Domaine Les Bastides Vin Cuit that my dad found in a small wine shop in the outskirts of Paris. I wish I could remember the name of the place - sorry!

                Anyway, Vin Cuit is "cooked" spiced wine that was traditionally made for Christmas Eve in Provence. Each family had their own recipe for spices and flavorings (such as quinces or pine nuts) to add to red or rosé wine. The tradition has recently been revived by Domaine les Bastides and a few other winemakers in France.

                If you see any Vin Cuit, and if you like sweet wine, grab it! It's delicious stuff, and I've never seen it in North America.

                Have a great trip, and remember to pack the booze in your checked luggage. (I always bring along some bubble wrap and big zip-top bags for just this purpose.)


                1 Reply
                1. Four things in play here, what to buy, where to buy it, how to carry it, and duty on purchase. Start with easiest first, how to carry.As must be in check-in, bring a small wine carrier with you, in foamy stuff, or rubbery spongy stuff, better and more secure and less cumbersome than bubble-wrap. Where to get it? If you use duty free, you will save 13% VAT tax. If you buy at CDG, you will have a decent selection, but relatively small and mostly familiar. You will have to carry, no check-in and if you switch at US airport can not be in carry on, so what do you do with it. Duty is very small. You are allowed duty free one liter per person, after that $0.25 per bottle wine, liquor $1 or so. Thus charges are so small, they generally waive them. l was never charged and bring back stuff every time, most being 44 bottles. So we are left with the what; l never bring something back l can get in the states, for the few dollars saved, why give up the delight of having something no one can get. A few recommendations; this trip l brought back an Absinthe from Bossetti's store on Rue Archives just west of BHV around Hotel D'Ville metro stop, ligne 1 and 11. Cost @ 40 euros is 72% and is real item, not quite as much thujone( the nasty part of absinthe) as from 19th Century, but great stuff and compared to what now available in US, almost mind-altering; a Macvin, Jura aperitif like Pineau des Charentes, but more approachable. Had a bottle with Chef June a week ago or so and it was super. Producer is not overly important and is @ 20 Euros, and lastly the bomb,Chartreuse VEP.Comes in wood box and cost @ 100 Euro for liter. My fav liquor, stress VEP, Bossetti has this as well. Balthazar, at the bar in NY sells small shot of this for $20 and have no idea where they get it in States.

                  1. Go to Fauchon and buy a bottle of Vieux Calvados or a 15 year old Armagnac. We don't have anything that comes close from the LCBO in Ontario. It will be expensive but well worth it.

                    1. Listen to DCM! I am wishing I had brought home some of that Chartreuse.

                      I always pack a roll of (small) bubble wrap that I cut into lengths for wrapping around a fat bottle, a big handful of sturdy rubber bands, and several 2-gallon zip-lock freezer bags. I wrap each bottle in the bubble wrap, secure with rubber bands, and zip into a bag. I have never (knock wood) had any messes in my checked luggage. ;>D

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: ChefJune

                        The best digestif I have ever had is Chartreuse Tarragona. It is very expensive and very hard to locate. Au Verger De La Madeleine, 4 Boulevard Malesherbes, (across the street from Senderens) used to carry it.

                        See here for the full story of how I discovered this incredible stuff and a photo of our last bottle.


                        1. re: lizziee

                          In the 90's Chartreuse from Tarragonia was readily available, if more expensive than that from Voiron. They, l believe, were the only ones to vintage date it and the old stock was being used up. At one point the wine shop at Galleries LaFayette, had about 11 vintages. It seems now to be gone from everywhere. There was another of the same genre. a VEP Izarra from St Jean Pied de Port. The regular Izarra, whether green or yelllow, can be a bit rough, but the VEP available only in the Basque region, l was told recently is no longer made. A shame, was wonderful and quite inexpensive.

                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                            Wow. You guys have some great ideas. I think I will jot them down and carry them in my purse in case I see them on my tourings. The key seems to be to buy quality even if the cost seems high. Glad I posted this.

                      2. 'Salers'. It's a Gentiane based apertif made in the Auvergne region of France, a more ballsy version of the more common 'Suze'. It's available in three different strengths(16%, 20%, and 25%) that are differentiated by the colour of the cap - yellow being the 16%, I think.

                        It costs around 15 euros a bottle. I've seen it in supermarkets, you can get it at the chain of 'Nicolas' wine stores, and in speciality Auvergne food shops - there's one, of all places, on the middle level of the RER train station at the Gare du Nord.

                        It's a an ambre yellow colour, and somewhat bitter. You drink it on ice. As a kid, I hated it, but now I love it - an acquired taste, perhaps. If you don't like it, it'll look good in your bar as the bottle's really pretty, as you can see here: http://www.gentiane-salers.com/pages/...

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: vielleanglaise

                          Thanks, I'll look for it. Can I have it as a cocktail somewhere, just to try it out?

                          1. re: sarah galvin

                            In Paris you can, but not always in your more chic establishments, though the 'Grand Colbert' one of the last independently owned brasseries - it's on the rue Vivienne - serve Salers and Lillet and other old-fashioned drinks and liquors.
                            Lots of the run-of-the mill bars and cafés in Paris are run by Auvergnat families, and they'll often have it. Just ask for "Un Salers, s'il vous plait."

                        2. In addition to Calvados and Armangnac, do yourself a favor and bring some cassis home. The cassis here just cannot measure to the cassis we have brought home from France!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jarona

                            Cassis? Really? I would have not thought of it.

                            1. re: sarah galvin

                              Sarah, you CAN get great Cassis here, but it''s not easy to find.

                              the liqueurs from Domaine Lucien Jacob are superb. If you can find their Cassis or Framboise, they are well worth bringing home.