I have a couple of drinks that will bring you a European experience so you can feel like you’re enjoying a vacation in Europe while you’re quarantined at home. While you’re at it, turn on some cultural music and a virtual tour of the country to heighten your experience. These drinks are easy-to-make and ones I’ve had during my trip to Europe. They each bring back a fond memory from my travels that I’m excited to share with you.
When I was in Saint-Émilion, France (close to Bordeaux), my tour guide suggested trying the Lillet aperitif. So, I sat at an outdoor restaurant patio and ordered a crépe with this drink. I wasn’t sure what Lillet was, but I was down for all kinds of new experiences (I even tried frog legs). Lillet is a French wine-based apéritif containing a blend of Bordeaux Sémillon with a bit of citrus liqueur. Honestly, this was so delicious. The liqueur really amplified the sweet orange notes of the wine. The light citrus finish was a nice combination to the sweetness of the wine. The addition of ice and lemon garnish to this drink brought balance to the flavours of Lillet, so they weren’t overpowering. You can buy Lillet at your local liquor store for $18.99. When you have it at home, don’t forget to add ice and lemon garnish.
I love Aperol Spritz. Its sweet and vibrant orange colour makes it perfect to have on a hot day when you hang out on your porch. Aperol Spritz is an Italian wine-based apéritif cocktail that’s super popular in Europe. I had this drink on at 30°C+ day at a bar looking out at the Mediterranean waters of Cassis, France. This apéritif is a mix of Prosecco, Aperol (Italian bitter apéritif made of gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona), and soda water. This is a delicious combination and it’s super easy to make at home. I’ll be enjoying this drink in quarantine to bring the Italian experience to me since my trip to Italy was canceled. Here is the recipe for it.
J.P. Chenet Rosé
I had a bottle of this with my friend from Sweden on a beach in Toulon, France. I found this wine on sale for €2 at the supermarket. Since I love rosé, I was sold! J.P. Chenet is a very large French winery and is widely available. It is an average rosé, but it is a solid one for the price. In Canada, you can’t find French rosés for $5 CAD, but this one is around $15, which is a good price and brings back great memories. Be sure to chill it before serving.
I went to Barcelona, so yes, I had their signature cocktail - the sangria! This is a summery, refreshing, and colourful drink with several ways to make it. You can have it with red or white wine, add in any fruit and fruit juice that you have in the fridge, and make it your own. I always love adding sparkling wine to my sangria to add some fizz and extra sweetness. This is the perfect drink to experiment with and skip the grocery and liquor store run because you can improvise with the ingredients you have at home. Delish.com has 26 Sangria recipes - click here to find one for you. My favourite one is the Mimosa Sangaria – you can check out this video tutorial of how to make it here.
You don’t travel to France without having a glass of Champagne. Champagne is a sparkling white wine from the region of Champagne in France and built on an image of enjoying during celebrations and victories. I had Champagne when I was celebrating my last day in Toulon, France with a couple of friends. If you have a quarantine birthday, I suggest you treat yourself to a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, Moët & Chandon, or Pierre Jouët to bring a fun, French celebration to your home. You can find out more about Champagne on my Sparkling Wine blog post.
There was an evening where I opened a bottle of Madame rosé while hanging out with my Aussie friend by a river in Avignon, France. It was a super peaceful and chill time with good laughs. I first bought this because it had the name “Madame”, which I felt resonated with my personality and found it to be the perfect wine for our girl talk. Madame is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and is made in Côtes de Provence, which is the largest appellation* in the French Provence region. Unfortunately, this wine is not available in Canada, but you can definitely find some great rosés from the Provence region - they are widely known for that wine blend.
If you try any of these drinks, let me know your experience having them in the comments. I had a great time sharing with you my nostalgic memories from Europe. Merci Beaucoup!
*Appellation is a geographical name (as of a region, village, or vineyard) under which a winegrower has the legal designation to identify and market wine with a particular name.