I’ve always had a sweet spot for syrups. Shirley Temples were my drink of choice throughout my childhood, and I had a great run with Dirty Shirleys when I started going to the bars. I also loved Italian sodas, especially with a dash of half-and-half and a lot of whipped cream.
So it’s no surprise that I equated syrups with childhood drinks. However, I quickly noticed that syrups are everywhere in France–and they’re not just for kids. A quick round-up of my favorite drinks à la sirop:
Biere à la pêche: A lager with a splash of peach syrup certainly isn’t for manly men, but it’s pretty darn good. Best part? It looks like a regular beer, so no one but you and the bartender know you’re sipping something a bit sweeter.
Monaco: A few weeks ago, a guy who I knew from high school and college happened to be passing through the French Riviera, so we met up for drinks. He had spent the previous day in Monaco, and apparently had tried a great Monaco beer. While in Nice that day, he had gotten excited when he saw Monaco on the menu and ordered it again. Quelle surprise when a delightfully pink beverage showed up in front of him!
No, the bartender didn’t get confused. A Monaco is a panaché (also known as a shandy or radler: it’s half beer and half lemonade or Sprite) with a splash of grenadine syrup. Even though my friend was worried the cute girls around him would think he was a bit girly with a drink like that, he admitted that it wasn’t half bad.
Sirop a l’eau: It’s the cheapest thing you can order, and while it won’t get you drunk, it’s not a bad drink on a summer day. The most common syrups offered are grenadine, mint and peach. I absolutely love almond syrup–it turns a glass of cold water into a liquid marzipan treat. It’s particularly nice with sparkling water–stick it in a nice glass, and it’s sure to impress dinner guests at a fraction of the price of champagne.
Have you tried syrups before? What’s your favorite combination?