Unusual Apéritifs in Paris

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In our weekly quest for new restaurants to review, we often order an apéritif to whet our appetites for dinner. We decided some time ago to compose a list of some of the unusual house cocktails that we have tasted, and present a few of them below, most of which are wine-based concoctions.

Stronger stuff can be tasted today and tomorrow at the 3rd annual Cocktails Spirits salon, held at La Maison Rouge art gallery at 10, boulevard de la Bastille in the 12th arrondissement.

Vin Chai Moi’s grapefruit, ginger, and white wine cocktail
© Discover Paris!

Vin Chai Moi cocktail

This handsome restaurant and wine bar in the 1st arrondissement has a surprisingly long and eclectic list of wine cocktails from which to choose. Our favorite is made with white wine flavored with grapefruit and ginger. Though it may look like a frou-frou drink, it is potent!

Vin Chai Moi – 18, rue Duphot – Paris 1è

Kir Birlou

This is a specialty of A Verse Toujours, a café in the 5th arrondissement. It is made with white wine and Birlou, a liqueur from the Cantal region of Auvergne, containing “the flavor of apple and the mystery of chestnut.” This liqueur has been available outside of Auvergne only for the past ten years. “Bir” signifies beer, because the liqueur marries well with this beverage. “Lou” comes from the word “pelou,” which is a colloquialism that evokes the chestnut.

We have not found the delightful Kir Birlou anywhere else to date!

A Verse Toujours – 3, avenue des Gobelins – Paris 5è

Pousse Rapière

This beverage is made from a liqueur called Armagnac Pousse Rapière, composed of macerated orange and Armagnac from the Château de Monluc located in the Gascony region of France. The liqueur is mixed with Vin Sauvage Brut, a sparkling white wine from the same producer. One can substitute other sparkling whites, including champagne, but the wine should be brut (dry). Otherwise, the cocktail will be too sweet.

La Cérisaie, one of our favorite restaurants in the Montparnasse district, first introduced us to this drink. We have also found it at La Tute, in the 1st arrondissement.

La Cérisaie – 70, boulevard Edgar-Quinet – Paris 14è

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