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Your favorite apéritifs and digestifs?

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negirl2 Mar 29, 2013 08:25 AM

Two aperitfs I like :Lillet blonde (yum) and Noilly prat dry vermouth. Pastis and Suze I've tried and don't like..What about Aperol?Byrrh Vermouth?
Digestifs I like: Poire William,Armagnac,Grand Marnier.

I'd love to try some of the different French eau de vie, fruit liquers etc. that are favorites in France.Eau de prune? Eau de framboise? My plan is to taste a number in restaurants and then bring the one or two I like best home!
Thanks for your ideas!

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  1. John Talbott Mar 29, 2013 09:40 AM

    Ricard by Paul Ricard
    Vieille Prune de Joseph Cartron

    5 Replies
    1. re: John Talbott
      n
      negirl2 Mar 29, 2013 10:22 AM

      Thanks Mr. Talbott,
      Vielle Prune sounds like a good choice .Any other eaus de vie's you like?
      negirl2
      PS Comme cadeau pour votre avis je vous avez envoye un "virtual homard" fresh from l'ile Aquidneck!

      1. re: negirl2
        John Talbott Mar 29, 2013 01:20 PM

        "Thanks Mr. Talbott....Any other eaus de vie's you like?"
        OK, as the Obama Guignol says "Numbah 2" is Grande Eau-de-Vie de Prune Vielle (Sarlat). Numbah 3 is indeed calva, as young and raw as possible.
        "Aquidneck" Brings back fond memories of Horseneck Beach. "Virtual"? Sorry I'll wait for real.

        1. re: John Talbott
          Parigi Mar 29, 2013 07:13 PM

          Chartreuse jaune

          1. re: Parigi
            Delucacheesemonger Mar 30, 2013 06:20 AM

            Hope you mean the VEP Chartreuse jaune, miles above the basic one.

            1. re: Delucacheesemonger
              PhillyBestBYOB Mar 30, 2013 08:12 AM

              What was the Chartreuse cocktail from Ernest Hemingway that S made for us called? That was pretty tasty (or was that thanks to your 50 year old Chartreuse?).

    2. i
      INDIANRIVERFL Mar 29, 2013 10:26 AM

      B&B, Noilly Prat with a little ice. Calvados in the middle of the meal. The older the better.

      1. Paprikaboy Mar 29, 2013 10:29 AM

        I like mauresque, which is pastis with almond syrup.

        1. ChefJune Mar 29, 2013 10:59 AM

          FWIW, Noilly-Prat has been sold and the formula obviously has changed. Has a very sweet finish I do not like. I've gone to Dolin Dry vermouth lately. Seems the pool of drinkable/cookable vermouths is shrinking.....

          2 Replies
          1. re: ChefJune
            n
            negirl2 Mar 29, 2013 11:13 AM

            Yes, I sadly noticed the change a while back too! What a pity!

            1. re: ChefJune
              PhilD Mar 29, 2013 07:44 PM

              June - I think you need to broaden your search their are quite a few very good artisan Vermouths around (because Negroni's are in vogue?). Agree Dolin is good but there are better - however mainly Italian (and a few US ones) so not for here.

              In France our standard aperitif is a Champagne for the better half or very dry white for me. Many restaurants have their own Champage cocktails or Kir style drinks which are often interesting ( but check the price - it can be a nasty surprise). To round off a meal I like a good sherry.

            2. m
              Maximilien Mar 29, 2013 11:06 AM

              Champagne Rosé for apéritif and Champagne "blanc" for digestif!!!

              Or Ricard on the rocks on a terrasse on a warm summer evening.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Maximilien
                v
                VaPaula Mar 29, 2013 04:28 PM

                I'm with you-bubbles are never wrong. Although I tend to prefer them before dinner.

                After dinner, I'm an Armagnac girl with Calvados a close 2nd.

                I'm loving this thread. There are several things I've never heard of.

              2. sunshine842 Mar 29, 2013 02:07 PM

                Aperitif: Pineau de Charentes or a Kir Royale

                Digestif: Grand Marnier Centenaire, or the fabulously herby Farigoule from Provence (yes, very different flavors between those two)

                My homemade limoncello or liqueur d'abricot frequently get pulled out in the meantime.

                1. Jake Dear Mar 29, 2013 05:05 PM

                  Lately, both at home and at restos in France, we like a small amount of sweet wine before dinner. Or we make what I think is called castagnou -- vin blanc and liqueur de châtaigne, which we packed back from the Ardeche. (We've not been able to find the good artisanal stuff in Paris.) Sometimes we make it with an inexpensive sparkling wine. The base is sweet, a little goes a long way. -- Jake

                  1. p
                    Ptipois Mar 29, 2013 06:17 PM

                    Sauternes, of course.

                    Other choices: cartagène, muscat de Rivesaltes, madeira, port, marsala.

                    1. Delucacheesemonger Mar 30, 2013 06:19 AM

                      Macvin, the jura style of Pineau de Charantes has been my drink of choice for a long while.
                      just bought a bottle yesterday at a great store Crus and Decouvertes on rue Paul Bert.

                      1. mangeur Mar 30, 2013 06:22 AM

                        Last week our host served us half Chataigne liquour and half poire eau de vie as digestive. Rather nice.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: mangeur
                          p
                          pastrychica Mar 30, 2013 01:59 PM

                          Can you tell me more about the chataigne liqueur?? I am intrigued . . . Chestnuts are my hands-down fav. Is it sweet? Which ones are your favorites? Love to buy a bottle on my next trip. Thanks!

                          1. re: pastrychica
                            Jake Dear Mar 31, 2013 12:21 PM

                            Hi pastrychica,

                            We too love chestnuts. We had our first liqueur de châtaigne aperitif a few years ago at the hotel Château d'Ygrande (near Moulins and Montlucon, northern Auvergne), surrounded by chestnut tree forests. Mixed with local sparking wine, it was the house aperitif, and we brought a bottle home (that’s the bulbous “Distillerie de Volcans,” empty now!). From then we searched in Paris for that or a comparable rendition, but after two tries (and they were hard to find there) we were not satisfied – what we found in Paris were both “crème,” not “liqueur” de châtaigne, and not as good as what we remembered at Ygrande -- too sweet without the balancing pleasant background slight touch of bitterness that we recalled . . . .

                            And so on a recent trip to the Ardèche and environs, we were on the lookout for “artisnale” liqueur de châtaigne. And we found quite a few in shops featuring regional products. Pictured below are two, and also two regional crèmes that we picked up for comparison.

                            One set was from a shop in 48104 Nasbinals, in Lozère; the châtaigne came from the nearby “Plateau de l’Aubrac,” but according to a small sticker on the back that I just noticed, both were distilled by “Philippe Aurian, Artisan Liquoriste,” by separate lots and dates. His place is pretty far away (between Bordeaux and Toulouse) in 32100 Condom. Apparently Philippe Aurian is a serious operation making a huge range of distilled products under different labels. (See http://www.ladepeche.fr/article/2012/01/03/1252036-condom-les-regals-de-l-innovant-liquoriste.html ; http://www.produitsregionaux.fr/rub-Information_Aperitifs_Artisanaux-II.htm .)

                            The other set we bought in 07110 Largèntiere, deep in the Ardèche; that liqueur version also came from Philippe Aunian (but also labeled “Brin d’Ardèche”); the crème, it turned out, was from the only truly local distiller, “Didier Marien, Producteur à Valousset,” much closer in 07110 Laboule. We were told in Largèntere that the crème version is sometimes lower in alcohol, and that the liqueur version is more suitable for sipping on its own, but both are also for pouring atop ice cream, or using (just a touch!) in sauces -- and we’ve done it all. (I just looked, and the ingredients list for all three Philippe Aurian bottlings is the same: “alcool, sucre, aröme naturel, aröme,” and all are 24 percent. The Didier Marien crème is: “alcool, sucre, Macération de châtaigne,” and it’s 16 percent.)

                            At home we use both versions to make our own “kir ardechios” -- a little bit at the bottom of a glass into which we pour dry white wine, and sometimes we’ll make it with an inexpensive dry sparkling wine. But we don’t use too much, or it’s too sweet for us.

                            PS, those interested in châtaigne generally might visit the “musée de châtaigne” in 07260 Joyeuse (near Largèntiere) -- proudly setting out the history of châtaigne in the region. http://www.musee-chataigneraie.fr/uk-accueil-chataigne.php In their boutique (http://www.musee-chataigneraie.fr/bou... ) they had even more châtaigne libations, but we bought only châtaigne flour.

                            -- Jake (now I should apply for a commission from the châtaigne advisory board).

                             
                            1. re: Jake Dear
                              p
                              pastrychica Mar 31, 2013 01:38 PM

                              Oh my God! I am in heaven! I wish I could drag my two tweens around France searching for this stuff. Today on Easter, I am settling for chocolate-chestnut macarons. Thank you for so much info -- as you can tell by my user name -- I would probably enjoy the
                              "creme" immensely. That museum sounds like heaven!!!

                        2. n
                          negirl2 Mar 30, 2013 05:38 PM

                          Wow Chowhound! Thank-you everyone for all the ideas. I am thrilled with all the possibilities. I'd heard of cassis with champagne etc but not with white wine.And the variety of liquers that you guys suggested. Oh my!

                          1. o
                            oferl Mar 31, 2013 02:16 AM

                            Thanks here too for the suggestions.. And if we are already at it, may i ask here about wines and interesting beers without opening a new thread ? Last year i asked about Cider and Poire and got excellent ideas, for this year would like to look for very interesting french whites, reds and "exotic" beers. I'm always looking for the very most fruity and not so dry stuff :-) Would be glad to get recomendadtions especially for whites in the cheaper price range of around 10-15E for "daily" at apartment and some more interesting options for around 30-50E as "a treat" to have opportunity to try more special things.. Also interested in some reds and in rare beers that might be local - altough i did not have high beer expectations last year, i sampled a couple of 50cl bottles that i don't remember their name, it was like ipa mixed with different berries, very very nice to my "fruity friendly" taste buds :-)

                            19 Replies
                            1. re: oferl
                              sunshine842 Mar 31, 2013 02:51 AM

                              for fruity beers, look more towards the Krieks produced in Belgium -- cherry ,raspberry, and peach are the most common varieties.

                              1. re: sunshine842
                                o
                                oferl Mar 31, 2013 03:18 AM

                                Familiar with those, not a big fan. They are very accessible also at my country, in my opinion hard to find one that is worthy, Kasteel Rouge is nicer and for sure stronger. The ones i found last year were i think bought at Lafayette Gourmet , had some funky colorful tag, some newer brewery i guess.. Shame i did not write down the details :-) It wasn't crazy good, but seemed like a good amber beer mixed with genuine juice and almost no sugar, nice stuff..

                                1. re: oferl
                                  sunshine842 Mar 31, 2013 03:50 AM

                                  Other than in the extreme northeast of the country, France doesn't really have a great brewing tradition any more (I'm told it used to be much, much bigger...)

                                  And for whatever reason, not much beer makes it as far as Paris.

                                  (and no, 1664 and "33" are not good beer)

                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                    o
                                    oferl Mar 31, 2013 04:49 AM

                                    That is interesting, thanks. I would have expected the France "boutique" brewery scene to be at it's prime now, at least this what happeans in many many countries including mine, but you say that actually brewing tradition "diminished" in those past years or so.. Or maybe it is just being too close to Belgium, i guess.. I'm not so familiar with the european beer scene, but i guess that at least in Belgium, micro-brewery might not be too common also.. But i'm actually quite clueless on that..

                                    1. re: oferl
                                      sunshine842 Mar 31, 2013 05:34 AM

                                      there are more than 800 beers brewed in Belgium - most by small breweries. Brewing is very much alive and well in Belgium

                                      and when I say "used to be" I mean 100 years ago or more.

                                      By the time you get as far south as Paris (which isn't really south at all) the climate is tenable by wine grapes -- witness the Champagne region, just 125 miles east of Paris -- so the local tipple is then wine, not beer.

                                      1. re: oferl
                                        p
                                        Ptipois Mar 31, 2013 06:46 AM

                                        There are many, many local breweries in France, including the Paris region (though Paris is not the epicenter). The brewery scene is also quite flourishing in the French regions.

                                        It seems that Brittany and Corsica were the first to start the trend: the very nice brown Coreff in Morlaix, also buckwheat beer, gorse beer, airelle beer, etc. Today Brittany has the largest number of breweries after the North and Northeast.

                                        In Corsica it's Pietra, a chestnut beer, really delicious.
                                        In Bordeaux: Aliénor, which contains a little grape must (the acidic taste is really interesting).
                                        And artisan breweries in Provence, Languedoc, Tarn, Ardèche, Auvergne (gentian beer), Normandy, Pays Basque, Aquitaine... And even the ile de Ré. I don't think there's even one département without a brewery of some sort.

                                        1. re: Ptipois
                                          sunshine842 Mar 31, 2013 06:52 AM

                                          breweries exist --I never said they didn't -- but beer is not the beverage of choice anywhere but the northeast.

                                          You can find them, they're there -- but "flourishing" would be a stretch.

                                          1. re: sunshine842
                                            p
                                            Ptipois Mar 31, 2013 08:54 AM

                                            Your posts made it sound like there was no notable brewing activity South of Paris, which is largely inexact. It also made it clear that "not much beer makes it as far as Paris" which is also far from the truth.

                                            Oferl was then concluding that there was no "boutique" brewing trend going on in France right now, and I say, yes, there is one, and very much so.
                                            The brewing tradition in France used to cover most of the territory but primarily the Flemish North and Alsace/Lorraine Northeast. That is still the case, but now the brewing trend has also spread to regions that never had any brewing tradition, or very little of it. That is the case of Corsica and the South. So all in all there is probably more beer being brewed in France than ever before.

                                            It is quite possible, at the moment, that Brittany brews more beer than Lorraine (many ancient breweries in Lorraine having died out since the 1960s).

                                            In addition, the dominant winemaking activity from Champagne to the Mediterranean is not necessarily correlated with wine drinking in cafes. Look at what locals order in country and regional cafes and you'll see plenty of beer consumed as well.

                                            1. re: Ptipois
                                              sunshine842 Mar 31, 2013 10:23 AM

                                              yes, but the what locals order in country and regional cafes is usually Kro or 1664 or Pelforth -- which isn't artisanal or small-scale brewing by any stretch of the imagination.

                                              yes, small breweries exist They're not common, and good beer is not an everyday find.

                                              1. re: sunshine842
                                                p
                                                Ptipois Mar 31, 2013 06:20 PM

                                                Yes, I meant beer, that's what they order, even in wine-producing regions. I wasn't mixing general beer drinking and the artisanal trend, these are different issues.

                                                I was mostly answering Oferl's "boutique brewery" question positively. It is by no means a small trend and regional breweries are now quite common.

                                          2. re: Ptipois
                                            PhilD Mar 31, 2013 04:02 PM

                                            Pietra is indeed a fine brewery which has a range of interesting chestnut based beers. And Paris has a number of brew pubs which are pretty popular (although I didn't really enjoy their beers).

                                            But I agree with Sunshine it is quite a hidden revolution, and it isn'y obvious where to sample the brews. Pti are there bars in Paris you would recommend that stock the new French craft beers? (like the bars that are springing up in other major cities like London etc). We are back in Paris later this year and I will be keen to try them - but fear if we don't know the addresses we will suffer the ubiquitous 1664.

                                            I was quite impressed by new regional craft beers in Rome a few years ago, so I think it is incorrect to think wine growing countries are not great brewers. After all hot weather and a nice cold beer seem made for each other...!

                                            1. re: PhilD
                                              p
                                              Ptipois Mar 31, 2013 06:36 PM

                                              Not a hidden revolution at all. Go to Brittany, local beers are widely advertised. Coreff sponsors rock festivals and festou-noz, etc. You just can't miss the new Breton beers. They're now part of everyday life as much as traditional beer is in the French North.
                                              And places like Auvergne, Corsica and the pays Basque are not following too far. Paris used to have some local beer brands and is resurrecting a few of them (mainly Gallia and Demory).

                                              In Paris: Demory Paris has its own bar on rue Quincampoix, undergoing renovation at the moment, but Demory can be found in many bars. It is very good.
                                              Gallia, another old brand similarly resurrected a few years ago, is quite easy to find.
                                              You can find them at most trendy bars and cafés, and some restaurants. If you want to know more, Bières Cultes in the 18e has more than 100 French beers (and gazillions of Belgian beers of course). And there's also Terre de Bières (marché Saint-Quentin). Parisians really do drink a lot of beer.

                                              1. re: Ptipois
                                                PhilD Mar 31, 2013 06:45 PM

                                                Thanks for these recommendations - they are on the list.

                                                1. re: Ptipois
                                                  o
                                                  oferl Apr 1, 2013 01:16 AM

                                                  Thanks all for the info and tips..

                                                2. re: PhilD
                                                  o
                                                  olivierb Apr 11, 2013 10:20 PM

                                                  A lot of French craft breweries have been popping up everywhere these last 5+ years. Not living in France anymore I can't keep up with the new stuff that comes out... Quality varies widely and ranges from the worst (no QC) to the best. In average, beers produced here tend to be less extreme to what can be found in US/Scandinavia. Also, as most of these are new breweries, you won't find as much beers that require a lot of money/time investments, like really big/barrel-aged stouts or sour beers. Still, there are a lot of really enjoyable French beers to be had these days, way more than in, say, 2005.

                                                  Actually two of my favorite French breweries are not located in the northern part of France at all, but on the eastern part: La Franche -- from Jura, and la Brasserie du Mont Salève -- from Haute Savoie.

                                                  To sample French breweries, your two best bets are La Cave à Bulles (rue Quincampoix, IVe) if you want a shop, or Le Supercoin (rue Baudelique, XVIIIe) which is a bar. Disclaimer: this bar is owned and operated by friends.
                                                  La Fine Mousse (avenue Jean Aicard, XIe) also has a very wide selection of beers, including French ones.

                                                  1. re: olivierb
                                                    PhilD Apr 12, 2013 12:41 AM

                                                    Thanks - supercoin on the list for sept visit

                                                    1. re: olivierb
                                                      Delucacheesemonger Apr 12, 2013 01:39 AM

                                                      Nice to see you posting, La Cave a Bulles right near Etienne Marcel metro does indeed have a zillion French beers and many are available to sample on a daily basis.

                                        2. re: oferl
                                          PhilD Mar 31, 2013 04:08 PM

                                          Oferi - I think it a big question to ask for wine recommendations for one of the most diverse and significant wine producing countries in the world. The best thing to do is to ask for recommendations of good wine bars were the staff will listen to your likes and serve wines according to your tastes, then you can sample by the glass rather commit to a bottle.

                                          As for the aperitif suggestions be warned that most places will deliver pretty standard Kir or Kir Royale (which is the champagne version and is less usually drunk than the straight white wine) as there normal aperitif. Lot's of excellent suggestions here but few restaurants or bars will stock many of these wonderful ingredients.

                                          1. re: PhilD
                                            o
                                            oferl Apr 1, 2013 01:21 AM

                                            Yes, asking about wines in general might not be so efficient, when it comes to France :-) I will try to sample some different "less known" wineries for us for the apartment consumption, for sure will have a chat with wine stores ppl when buying, we will have great wines i'm sure..

                                        3. s
                                          Steve Mar 31, 2013 10:04 AM

                                          The Auvergne has quite a few unique aperitifs.

                                          Gentylle (combination of gentiane and myrtille) at Ambassade d'Auvergne is my favorite. Joli Coing is also very, very good.

                                          1. l
                                            lemarais Mar 31, 2013 11:31 AM

                                            Reminded me of the ads for Dubonnet. Is that still around?

                                            A Kir is a nice apertif. I don't think that has been mentioned. Anybody else like a kir?

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: lemarais
                                              Jake Dear Mar 31, 2013 11:45 AM

                                              We order kirs all the time, especially in the countryside. Many places have their own maison concoction, using one of a variety of fruit flavors: strawberry, raspberry, peach, blackberry, in addition to the standard cassis. Or, more exotic, such as kir chataignes. -- Jake

                                              1. re: Jake Dear
                                                l
                                                lemarais Mar 31, 2013 12:05 PM

                                                Oh sure, there are Kir Royales (champagne) and lots of other variations. I just get the standard Creme de Cassis. It's very relaxing to sit and have a kir before dinner.

                                                Kirs are good mid-afternoon as well!

                                                1. re: lemarais
                                                  sunshine842 Mar 31, 2013 12:20 PM

                                                  we had one with Violette last summer -- very different, and nice on one of the few warm evenings we had last year.

                                                  We also serve them with Liqueur de Coquelicot (poppy), which is made here in the department where we live. It's a beautiful color in the glass, and has a really lovely unique flavor.

                                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                                    ChefJune Apr 2, 2013 02:56 PM

                                                    I'll have to look for that next trip. :)

                                                    My go-to aperitif is Champagne. It's also my favorite beverage...

                                            2. Rio Yeti Apr 1, 2013 03:02 AM

                                              Apéritif : Absinthe.

                                              Not those radioactive green drinks you see youngsters flaming on cool bars. The real stuff, olive green (naturally colored), drank the traditional way with ice cold water slowly dripped over a small sugar cube, resting on a dotted spoon over the glass containing the green fairy.
                                              Don't buy it in wine stores, you will only find Absente and Versinthe which are the equivalent of what a supermarket camembert is to a raw-milk artisanal camembert.

                                              I know you said you don't like Pastis, but some absinthes contain hardly any anise or liquorice, try to find Coquette, Belle Amie, Désirée, L'Esprit Edouard (or any Jade).

                                              And if you are in Paris (your post doesn't say), go by the shop "Vert d'Absinthe" on rue d'Ormesson, near St. Paul.

                                              19 Replies
                                              1. re: Rio Yeti
                                                sunshine842 Apr 1, 2013 05:47 AM

                                                I learned to drink pastis after realizing I really, really dig absinthe.

                                                From a licorice hater, that's a big deal.

                                                1. re: sunshine842
                                                  Rio Yeti Apr 1, 2013 07:23 AM

                                                  Funny, same here.

                                                  I always used to hate pastis and anything that tasted of anise, fennel, liquorice, tarragon... then I discovered absinthe and loved it.

                                                  Pretty fast I started liking all those flavors, and now I can even drink Pastis, although I strongly prefer Pastis made with different herbs including green anise rather than the "almost only star-anise" Pastis like Ricard or 51...

                                                  However I still prefer herbal absinthe over anise-strong absinthe.

                                                  1. re: Rio Yeti
                                                    sunshine842 Apr 1, 2013 07:26 AM

                                                    I embarrassed the daylights out of myself by pulling an "ew, yucky" face when tasting the pastis at Distilerie du Perigord.

                                                    I wish I could save face by going back and downing a glass in their tasting room, but somehow I don't think it would be any more mature....

                                                    I think the brand of absinthe I fell in love with was La Fee Vert...alas, that was back when Americans couldn't bring absinth back to the States....

                                                    1. re: sunshine842
                                                      Rio Yeti Apr 2, 2013 04:36 AM

                                                      If you ever get the chance to try one of the brands I talk about in my first reply, I urge you to do so.

                                                      La Fee Verte isn't as bad as some other crap that people sell as absinthe, but it is not that much different from Pastis (and is artificially colored I think), whereas some absinthes really do take it to another level, with a complexity only matched by some great wines.

                                                      If you can go by the Vert d'Absinthe shop in St. Paul, you will find only the good stuff.

                                                      1. re: Rio Yeti
                                                        PhilD Apr 2, 2013 03:21 PM

                                                        My problem with absinthe is its effect on me. I enjoy it as a drink but find even one as a aperitif seems to result in rapid inebriation. Thus not really a great set-up for a meal. Is this usual or am I simply super sensitive?

                                                        1. re: PhilD
                                                          sunshine842 Apr 2, 2013 10:24 PM

                                                          or could it be the power of suggestion "woo, the green fairy, this is the stuff that drove all the artists mad..." It's got a pretty potent legend attached to it (along with some horror stories from cheap/rotgut production methods...)

                                                          I'm a lightweight, but I've not noticed a difference.

                                                          1. re: PhilD
                                                            Rio Yeti Apr 3, 2013 03:38 AM

                                                            Every alcohol beverage has slight different effects (I think). Absinthe is no different, I personally feel that it gives me a more "soothing" drunkenness.

                                                            However one thing that is for sure is that the alcohol proof of Absinthe is really high, you dilute it with water and end up with a drink that is around 15 to 18% alcohol, but that tastes lighter than wine... So it's a misleading drink.

                                                            1. re: Rio Yeti
                                                              PhilD Apr 3, 2013 06:32 AM

                                                              Makes sense - I also find the same with good Sake.

                                                              I have hazy recollections of Chez Janou having a wide selection of Absinthe (and some reasonable food) - I say hazy as it was after a long day at the big Independent wine fair with a bunch of friends.

                                                              1. re: PhilD
                                                                sunshine842 Apr 3, 2013 07:45 AM

                                                                Not sure about absinthe, but I know Janou keeps somewhere around 50 different pastis on hand - they even have a pastis of the week.

                                                                So it would make sense that they would have absinthe, too.

                                                                1. re: sunshine842
                                                                  PhilD Apr 3, 2013 03:57 PM

                                                                  Just checked the site and they have 80 pastis, including 12 absinthe: Manguin no1, L'Absithne, L'Absente, Versinthe, Pernod, L'Amesinthe, La Muse Verte, Versinthe la Blanche, Absinthe 45%, Absinthe 72%, Absinthe 72% amer, and F.Guy Pontarlier.

                                                                  1. re: PhilD
                                                                    Rio Yeti Apr 4, 2013 12:43 AM

                                                                    PhilD
                                                                    Damn... aside from F. Guy which is "ok"... the rest is pretty standard stuff... (meaning not great).

                                                                    La Table d'Eugene has a better absinthe selection (Verte de Fougerolles, Clandestine, Roquette if I remember correctly). Still not as great as Coquette, Désirée, Enjoleuse, Nouvelle Orléans or L'Esprit Edouard though.

                                                                    Ptipois, I've been on the "absinthe" wagon for some time now. I've tasted more than I can remember, and even went to the Boveresse "Fete de l'Absinthe".
                                                                    Absinthe is alcohol, high-proof alcohol... what you describe could have happened with a Calvados tasting, or even a wine tasting.
                                                                    I'm not saying this to sound like a smart-ass or anything, but just to clarify for the random reader, that no absinthe doesn't drill any holes in your head. It has been proven that thujone, the psychoactive element in absinthe, is no more present than in sage, and that you would die of alcohol poisoning long before having enough thujone in you for it to be dangerous.

                                                                    I'm saying this, because as an absinthe amateur, I am amazed that people don't know this amazing spirit which can range from sweet to herbal to bitter to medicinal to anise-y, and has a palette of aromas (from one bottle to the next) that is extraordinary. And I am a bit fed up about people assimilating absinthe with young people drinking shots of it (or worst, burning a sugar on top of it...) just to mess with their heads.

                                                                    1. re: Rio Yeti
                                                                      p
                                                                      Ptipois Apr 4, 2013 01:19 AM

                                                                      As a Norman I'm pretty familiar with calvados and I have never witnessed that phenomenon with that. No more than with any other spirit. My companion who is a far more typical subject than I am was gobsmacked as he talked about it.

                                                                      Not to hint that by now you should have a head like a pincushion, but we did have some special stuff that time.

                                                                      1. re: Ptipois
                                                                        Rio Yeti Apr 4, 2013 01:32 AM

                                                                        I'm going with sunshine842's theory on that one, but I may be wrong.

                                                                        1. re: Rio Yeti
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                                                                          Ptipois Apr 4, 2013 02:19 AM

                                                                          Hey, I've heard of alcohol. That weren't it. ;)

                                                                          1. re: Ptipois
                                                                            sunshine842 Apr 4, 2013 02:27 AM

                                                                            Yes -- everybody says "woo -- absinthe!" without really understanding that a) there was a lot of bathtub rotgut garbage being made at that time (cheap booze, starving artists...sounds like a pairing to me!) and it WOULD make you blind/crazy/sick/dead -- and b) that several of the biggest artists of the time (Vincent van Gogh, much as I love your works, I would be looking at you) had various medical/mental/personality issues that were amplified by *any* alcohol. Manic depression and alcohol is not a good mix (although nobody knew that then...)

                                                                            1. re: sunshine842
                                                                              Rio Yeti Apr 4, 2013 02:42 AM

                                                                              Yes you are right sunshine.

                                                                              Ptipois, I don't doubt at all that what you experienced was real and was in no way comparable to other alcohol-driven experiences.
                                                                              I'm just saying that all the myth surrounding absinthe, and especially when it first started being legal again there was a lot of wrong information going around about it (and there still is...) may also be a factor to take in consideration.
                                                                              Psychological influence is not to say that something isn't true, just that maybe it didn't happen because of a "chemical" reaction but rather a psychological one.

                                                                              The first time I tasted absinthe I also felt it was unique, and even today when I describe absinthe as having more of a "soothing" drunkenness, I realize that the whole preparation of the drink (fountain of ice cold water, slowly dripping on the cube, little by little liberating the aromas of the drink in the room...) may have more to it than the actual composition of the drink itself.

                                                                              However, different people have different reactions to different drinks, and maybe some people actually do have peculiar reactions to absinthe (although this is denied by all recent scientific research).

                                                                              1. re: Rio Yeti
                                                                                sunshine842 Apr 4, 2013 03:51 AM

                                                                                there was a thread some time ago about whether or not tequila makes you act differently....

                                                            2. re: PhilD
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                                                              Ptipois Apr 3, 2013 05:39 PM

                                                              The first time I had absinthe (at La Régalade in Camdeborde's day), the chef had just received some absinthe and he said he'd test the stuff on us. I was with a colleague who also is a seasoned drinker. We both had one and then took a taxi who dropped me 3 minutes away from my home while my friend continued to Saint-Germain-des-Prés to have a few more.
                                                              I circled around my neighborhood for a good 10 minutes before figuring out where my door was. The next day, he called me to tell me that he had lost his way in Saint-Germain and at some point had no clue where he was.
                                                              We concluded that the thing could drill holes in the head, somehow.

                                                    2. re: Rio Yeti
                                                      l
                                                      lemarais Apr 1, 2013 07:07 AM

                                                      Nice-- reminded me that we got a nice collection of old Absinthe spoons one trip while in Isle-sur-La-Sorge Sunday market.

                                                      But I don't use them, I prefer a Kir. :)

                                                    3. r
                                                      RobinScherbartzky Apr 11, 2013 01:52 AM

                                                      Hi! My favourite drink is Cognac, yeah kind of weird for a girl!  actually I have started loving it since I visited last year the lovely Cognac city: http://www.visit-poitou-charentes.com... (a link with some useful information about it). When I was there a friend prepared me a cognac based cocktail, a traditional spirit with a very original twist, really surprising!
                                                      Jarnac Ginger
                                                      INGREDIENTS:
                                                      • 2 oz Cognac
                                                      • .5 oz Sugar cane syrup
                                                      • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
                                                      • 1.5 oz Ginger ale
                                                      • Club soda
                                                      • Glass: Highball
                                                      • Garnish: Lime wedge and ginger candy
                                                      PREPARATION:
                                                      Add all the ingredients except the club soda to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Top with club soda and garnish with a lime wedge and a piece of ginger candy on a skewer.

                                                      Enjoy :)

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