Syrups are for cocktails, not pancakes

June 18, 2010 in Provisions

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.

Syrups in France!

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?

  • Biere à la pêche? Oh dear, dear dear!

    There really should be a law against it!

    In fact, up here in rural Brittany, I think there is!

    All the best

    Keith

  • camorose

    It's girly, but delicious! Don't knock it til you try it 🙂

  • SoloFriendly

    These all sound good. Now I feel like I want to experiment by mixing beer with other beverages. 🙂

  • camorose

    Try a shandy! Half Sprite, half beer–it's perfect for hot summer days!

  • adventurouskate

    Those all sound so good! Reminds me of my five-year high school reunion…we got kicked out of the bar, went to the after-party, and my best friend proceeded to drink a full glass of grenadine. 😉

    There's an Irish bar in Florence called Lion's Fountain — they have lots of beer/syrup drinks. There was one with Strongbow beer (cider beer) and apricot. My favorite was the Liverpool Kiss — Guinness with black current syrup! SO GOOD!

  • camorose

    Cider and apricot sounds amazing! While I'm not a big Guiness drinker, I'm definitely curious about the Liverpool Kiss. Might have to try it and get back to you on what I thought 🙂 Thanks for the recommendations!

  • camorose

    Cider and apricot sounds amazing! While I'm not a big Guiness drinker, I'm definitely curious about the Liverpool Kiss. Might have to try it and get back to you on what I thought 🙂 Thanks for the recommendations!

  • I always stock up on syrups when I'm in France… the a la peche is always good and grenadine of coruse, though I also love Almond-orgeat with club soda. French version of an italian soda I guess.

  • camorose

    I'll have to try orgeat with club soda! I drink it with regular water sometimes at work–tastes like liquid marzipan! Yum!

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