Easter brunch is one of the few times a year when it’s acceptable to get a little day-drunk in front of your entire extended family. But in the French spirit of attention to seasonality, perhaps it’s worth saving mimosas for those bottomless brunches with the girls, and looking to some refined and tried-and-true cocktail recipes inspired by springtime in France. This means fresh herbs, lush florals, and light, spritzy drinks that pair well with watching your nieces and nephews duke it out over plastic eggs full of high fructose corn syrup.
Herbes de la France
Add a botanical edge to a simple glass of white wine with a shot of Farigoule, or French thyme liqueur. If you can’t find a bottle, you can make your own thyme simple syrup for a lighter version. Smack a bunch of mint leaves or rosemary fronds to release their essential oils and add them to a glass with ice, white wine, and thyme liqueur. Stir to combine. Top with club soda.
Fresh mint, rosemary, or sage
4 oz chilled white wine
1 oz thyme liqueur
Chilled club soda
Nothing says spring like violets, which makes crème de violette the obvious choice for a spritzy springtime cocktail. The Violet 75 is a twist on the French 75, and it’s a dangerous sipper, sweet and strong. Pull out this one when Nana starts talking politics. Shake the gin, lemon juice, and crème de violette with ice, strain into a glass, and top with champagne.
1.5 oz Gin
3/4 oz Lemon juice
3/4 oz Crème de Violette
This one is for impressing your TikTok-obsessed cousin who religiously drank Negroni Sbagliatos all of last year. Taking inspiration from a White Negroni, this is a White Sbagliato.
Salers, a bitter gentian liqueur, is the dominant flavor in this drink, which is complex in flavor but light in both color and alcohol content. Just stir the Salers and vermouth together with ice, then strain into a champagne flute and top with sparkling wine.
1.5 oz Salers
1.5 oz Comoz Blanc Vermouth de Chambéry
1.5 oz Sparkling wine
St. Germain Cocktail
St. Germain’s intensely floral flavor tastes like taking a long walk in the park on a perfect spring day. Simply combine St. Germain, champagne, and soda water in a Collins glass, stir gently, and garnish with lemon. For a true Royale, serve in a champagne flute and nix the sparkling water.
1.5 oz St. Germain
2 oz Dry Sparkling Wine or Champagne
2 oz sparkling water
In April in France, grocery stores become flooded with tiny, perfect strawberries. To celebrate their return, try Chambéryzette, a Belle Époque recipe originating in the Alps, which is made from sweet white vermouth and strawberry liqueur. In this recipe, you can simply muddle strawberries, or make a simple syrup out of them if you’re feeling fancy. Add ice, add vermouth, and stir to combine. Zhuzh with a spritz of lemon or some torn mint leaves as needed.
2 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth de Chambéry
2 strawberries, muddled
Slice of lemon or sprig of mint (optional)
Catherine Rickman is a writer and professional francophile who has lived in Paris, New York, and Berlin. She is currently somewhere in Brooklyn with a fork in one hand and a pen in the other, and you can follow her adventures on Instagram @catrickman.