In a world where alcohol consumption often takes center stage, it’s refreshing to discover non-alcoholic French drinks that celebrate the art of sobriété. With a rich culinary heritage and a penchant for refined tastes, France offers a delightful array of non-alcoholic drinks that are as satisfying as their spirited counterparts.
Prepare to embark on a journey of flavors, from vibrant fruity concoctions to herbal infusions, all inspired by French culture’s timeless elegance and savoir-faire. So, let’s dive in and discover the delightful treasures that await.
Café Au Lait
Although it is sometimes compared to other European varieties, particularly the espresso-based Italian drink caffè latte, this French coffee and warmed milk are made mostly with brewed coffee, traditionally using a French press. The proportion of the components also vary, and café au lait normally has equal amounts of both, with no foam on top, unlike caffè latte.
Confusion between the two beverages frequently occurs since the phrases are used interchangeably in several European nations that need to distinguish between the two types. In addition, café au lait can occasionally be made with espresso. Most European countries prefer versions that blend coffee and milk.
Perrier is a popular non-alcoholic French drink. This sparkling mineral water brand originates from the Vergèze spring in the country’s south. Even if you’re only in Paris for a layover, a trip to France should always involve Perrier.
What’s even better is that the water’s carbonation is entirely natural. The Perrier’s spring water is carbonated, and the water and gas are collected separately. During bottling, the gas is added back to the water at the same concentration as in spring water.
The natural spring has a lengthy tradition. The Romans utilized it as a spa, and it was still in use as a spa in 1898. Bottled water was not sold until much later. Perrier is sold in green bottles with a distinctive form. All the bottles are in the shape of a droplet and are instantly recognized.
Perrier is always delicious and complements any meal. Sip your Perrier in style!
Gini Lemon, created in 1971 by famed French company Perrier, is one of France’s most beloved soft drinks, great on its own or as a mixer in a cocktail. It was purchased by Cadbury Schweppes in 1989. This sparkling soda has a harsh lemon flavor and is the perfect non-alcoholic French drink for refreshment during travel!
Gini Lemon has been dubbed “La plus chaude des boissons froides,” or “the hottest cold drink of all time,” for its edgy marketing that frequently exceeds the bounds. How? This drink became popular in the twentieth century as a result of outstanding advertising relating to sexually charged activities.
Gini is popular not just in France but also in neighboring nations. For instance, it is now one of Belgium’s most popular lemon drinks.
Unfortunately you’re not going to find that in the US but we’ve found that Betty Buzz’s Lemon Club Soda is a delicious second.
Orangina is yet another popular French drink. It was first invented under the name Naranjina by Spanish chemist Augustin Trigo in 1933, but the concept and recipe were purchased a few years later by French industrialist Léon Beton.
When it comes to carbonated drinks, Orangina is as French as it gets. It began in the 1930s and grew in popularity subsequently. This orange-flavored soda rose to prominence in the 1950s thanks to Beton’s son, and it is now a popular beverage in France, Switzerland, Japan, and North Africa.
It comes in an orange-shaped bottle with the same texture at the bottom and an expanded neck. Orangina is mildly carbonated with orange pulp, primarily orange, with hints of lemon and grapefruit. This gives it the kick and fizz that distinguishes the original Orangina.
The drink is popular among children and adults, quickly becoming a cocktail classic as new-age bartenders experiment with it. With the younger generation, it is also used as a mixer for spirits, but there’s no reason not to use it when making your mocktails.
Orangina is a light, pleasant French summer drink that you should not miss if you visit France. You’ll love SanPellegrino’s Orangina substitute.
Diabolo is a drink that gained popularity in France in the 1920s. This beverage can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic, depending on an individual’s preferences.
This summer drink is served in cafes and bistros around France and comes in various flavors such as mint (menthe), grenadine, strawberry, raspberry, passion fruit, and many more. The Diabolo is made with homemade or French lemonade flavored with Teisseire syrup.
Have fun with it and make your own lemon flavored syrup using these swing top canisters!
This refreshing drink was consumed by every youngster growing up in France. Some will accompany the Diabolo with Sprite or 7Up. In cafes, another variety is “menthe a l’eau,” a green mint syrup with cold water. The renowned minty green Diabolo Menthe is such a classic that all the adults still prefer it. Make your own mint simple syrup.
Breizh Cola is a Brittany drink that, as the name implies, is a French equivalent to the infamous Coca-Cola. This non-alcoholic French drink was created by two friends in 2002. Born out of a desire to create a local alternative to multinational cola brands, Breizh Cola has quickly gained popularity and become a beloved symbol of Breton pride and identity.
What sets Breizh Cola apart is its commitment to using natural and regional ingredients. The cola is made with pure water sourced from the springs of Brittany, giving it a fresh and crisp quality. The formula also incorporates cane sugar, rather than high-fructose corn syrup, for a more authentic and less overly sweet taste.
Since the invention of Breizh Cola, numerous French colaso have emerged. Meuh Cola from Normandy and Fada Cola from Marseille are two examples.
Grenadine, a flavor-infused syrup mixed with water, is another popular non-alcoholic French drink. It comes in a variety of flavors, ranging from sweet to lemony. Teisseire, founded in Grenoble in 1720, is the most well-known brand of grenadine. This company makes syrup in over 70 different flavors.
Grenadine can be used in a variety of ways to add a touch of fruity sweetness and vibrant color to your beverages and culinary creations. Here are some popular ways to use it:
- Mocktails and Cocktails: French grenadine is a key ingredient in many classic mocktails and cocktails. It adds a sweet and tangy flavor profile while imparting a beautiful red hue to the drinks. Use it in popular concoctions like the Tequila Sunrise, Shirley Temple, or the non-alcoholic Roy Rogers.
- Lemonades and Fruit Punches: Enhance homemade lemonades or fruit punches with a splash of French grenadine. Its fruity notes perfectly complement the refreshing tartness of lemon or the medley of fruits in punches, adding an extra layer of sweetness and an eye-catching visual appeal.
- Milkshakes and Smoothies: Elevate your milkshakes and smoothies by incorporating French grenadine. Whether it’s a classic strawberry milkshake, a tropical fruit smoothie, or a creamy blended drink, a drizzle of grenadine can infuse a distinct pomegranate flavor and a delightful touch of color.
- Desserts and Baking: French grenadine can enhance the flavor and appearance of desserts. Add it to fruit salads, fruit compotes, or homemade ice creams to give them a fruity twist. You can also use it in glazes or syrups for cakes, cupcakes, or pancakes to impart a unique fruity essence.
- Sauces and Marinades: French grenadine can be a delightful ingredient in sauces and marinades, infusing them with a sweet and tangy flavor. Use it in barbecue sauces, glazes for roasted meats, or as a marinade for poultry or fish dishes to add a touch of fruitiness to your savory creations.
- Culinary Syrups: French grenadine can be transformed into homemade syrup to drizzle over pancakes, waffles, or French toast. Simply combine the grenadine with water and heat it until it reaches a syrupy consistency. This homemade syrup can also be used as an ice cream or yogurt topping.
Remember to use French grenadine in moderation, as it is quite sweet. Start with a small amount and adjust according to your taste preferences. Additionally, to create unique and delightful concoctions, feel free to experiment by combining French grenadine with other ingredients like citrus juices, sparkling water, or fresh fruits.
Citron pressé, a classic non-alcoholic French drink, is a refreshing and invigorating beverage showcasing the simple yet delightful combination of freshly squeezed lemon juice, water, and sugar.
Translating to “pressed lemon,” citron pressé is a popular choice in cafes, restaurants, and homes across France, particularly during the warmer months when its crisp and tangy flavors provide a much-needed respite from the heat.
One of the distinctive qualities of citron pressé is that the various components will be served individually and must be mixed at the table. In this manner, you can customize the amount of sweetness or sourness to your liking. Adding the desired amount of water to the freshly squeezed lemon juice dilutes the sharpness and provides a gentle effervescence, creating a wonderfully thirst-quenching experience.
Citron pressé is commonly served over a generous amount of ice, which enhances its refreshing nature and helps combat the summer’s heat. The combination of chilled, tart lemon juice and the icy coldness of the drink creates a revitalizing sensation that can be enjoyed anytime.
This non-alcoholic French drink is also quite simple to prepare at home! Refer to the video below by Tastemade to learn how to do it yourself.
This traditional Bordeaux drink contains Lot-et-Garonne milk, chocolate, and sugar. It was invented in 1952 and is still made using the same secret recipe. The drink was initially served from the back of vans traveling around the country and was only available in glass bottles.
Cacolac was first introduced by René Lavigne, a chocolatier and entrepreneur. The name “Cacolac” is derived from the words “cacao” (cocoa) and “lac” (milk), highlighting the two main ingredients that make this drink so irresistible.
It became widely available in grocery shops in the following years, and the company quickly created a can and carton packaging. Cacolac is available in hazelnut-praline and caramel flavors in addition to the original. It is now extensively distributed throughout the country.
Tisane, a delightful non-alcoholic, caffeine-free beverage, holds a special place in French culture as a soothing and aromatic drink enjoyed throughout the day. Commonly known as herbal tea, tisane is an infusion made by steeping various herbs, flowers, leaves, and sometimes fruits in hot water. These infusions offer a range of flavors, scents, and therapeutic properties, making them a popular choice for those seeking a gentle and comforting beverage experience.
One of the most well-known tisanes in France is camomille (chamomile). Known for its calming and soothing properties, camomille tisane is often enjoyed in the evening to promote relaxation and better sleep. Its delicate floral notes and mild flavor make it a favorite among many.
Another popular French tisane is verveine (verbena). Verveine tisane offers a pleasant citrusy aroma and a slightly tart taste. It is cherished for its digestive properties and is often sipped after meals to aid digestion and provide a sense of well-being.
Mint tisanes, such as peppermint (menthe poivrée) and spearmint (menthe verte), are also widely enjoyed in France. These refreshing and invigorating infusions are commonly consumed as a cooling and revitalizing drink during hot summer days. They are known for their ability to soothe the stomach and provide freshness.
French tisanes go beyond traditional single-ingredient infusions and often feature blends that combine a variety of herbs and flowers to create unique flavor profiles. For instance, “tisane du soir” (evening tisane) blends may include ingredients like linden flowers, lemon balm, passionflower, and lavender, offering a delightful harmony of flavors and promoting relaxation before bedtime.
Tisanes are typically served hot in France, allowing the flavors and aromas to be fully enjoyed. However, they can also be enjoyed iced during the warmer months for a refreshing twist. Some tisanes, like rosehip or hibiscus, lend themselves well to being served chilled, offering a tart and vibrant alternative to traditional iced teas.
Bissap, a vibrant and refreshing non-alcoholic drink from West Africa, has gained popularity in France due to its pleasant flavors and cultural connections. This crimson-hued beverage is made from the infusion of hibiscus petals, resulting in a tangy, slightly tart, and naturally sweet flavor profile that is beloved by many.
Bissap is commonly enjoyed as a thirst-quenching drink in France, particularly during the warm summer months. Its cooling properties and refreshing taste make it a perfect choice for those seeking a refreshing alternative to traditional beverages.
The preparation of Bissap involves steeping dried hibiscus petals in hot water, allowing their vibrant red color and unique flavor to infuse the liquid. The resulting infusion is then sweetened with sugar or honey to balance the tartness of the hibiscus. Some variations may include the addition of aromatic spices like ginger or a hint of citrus to enhance the drink’s complexity further.
Non-Alcoholic French Drinks FAQs
Is drinking common in France?
Drinking is a cultural aspect of France, and it is common for people in France to enjoy alcoholic beverages. France has a rich history and tradition of wine production, and wine is often considered an integral part of French culture.
Wine consumption is often seen as a social activity, with friends and family gathering to share a bottle over a meal or during special occasions.
What are traditional non-alcoholic French drinks?
Traditional non-alcoholic French drinks encompass a range of beverages deeply rooted in French culture and enjoyed across different regions. The French culture celebrates the art of savoring flavors and enjoying beverages that provide both refreshment and a sense of tradition. Here are a few examples of traditional non-alcoholic French drinks:
1. Café au Lait
3. Gini Lemon
5. Diabolo Menthe
6. Breizh Cola
7. Grenadine Syrup
8. Citron Pressé
What do French people drink in the morning?
For breakfast, most French adults consume some form of coffee. Many of them, however, prefer café au lait, which they frequently drink in bowls rather than mugs. Bowls of coffee are typically consumed at home.
As mentioned earlier, Café au lait is a traditional French drink that combines equal parts of coffee and hot milk. The smooth and balanced flavor of café au lait makes it a staple in French coffee culture.
Does France have non-alcoholic wine?
You can find non-alcoholic versions of popular wine varieties such as red, white, and rosé. These wines undergo processes such as vacuum distillation, reverse osmosis, or spinning cone technology to remove alcohol while preserving the original wine’s taste, aroma, and body.
Non-alcoholic wine can be found in specialty stores, online retailers, and some supermarkets in France. It is also increasingly available in restaurants and cafes to cater to customers seeking non-alcoholic options.
Does France have a non-alcoholic beer?
In France, you can find a variety of non-alcoholic beers produced by domestic and international breweries. These beers are made using traditional brewing techniques, and then the alcohol content is removed through methods such as vacuum distillation, reverse osmosis, or low-temperature evaporation.
Non-alcoholic beers in France come in different styles, including lagers, ales, wheat beers, and more. They aim to replicate the flavors, aromas, and textures of their alcoholic counterparts while providing a non-intoxicating alternative.