The Ultimate Made-in-France Gift Guide for Cocktail Enthusiasts 2020

Cocktail lovers can be a tricky lot to shop for. If you don’t spend a lot of time in this spirited world, it might be hard to muddle your way through the plastic trays for iceberg cubes or granite whisky rocks (don’t do it!). You cocktaillian friend may have plenty of liquids already in their bar, but our kind are always happy to discover something new or unusual. So, gift shopping is a good occasion to treat them to something they might not splash out on themselves or even know about. 

Avoid things that are overly gimmick like marshmallow vodka or gifts of the gag variety. Spirit categories that might be especially appreciated are vermouths (very on trend), mezcal, rhum agricole, armagnac, calvados or any of the standards (rum, gin, whisky, tequila) from interesting producers. Books, bitters, and other cocktail ingredients are a great bet. And cocktail enthusiasts don’t always stay in their appointed lane and a lot of us love a little detour into wine or foodie territory, too.

Here are some of my tip picks for Made In France gifts for my cocktail minded friends or suggestions for what one might by this cocktail-minded writer. (hint hint). I’ve put an asterisk on those that are only available for shipping or purchase in France, making them a good gift option for cocktail lovers who live here or purchases to bring back on your next trip to France.

Under 20 Euros

Saint James Aromatic Cocktail Bitters

Created in collaboration with Saint James ambassador and Paris based bartender, Stephen Martin, this bitters works especially well in rum cocktails.

Price: 15 Euros
Where to buy: La Maison du Whisky online boutique or other online shops

Drinking French by David Lebovtiz

The latest book from everyone’s favorite France-based cookbook author, memoirist, and blogger covers iconic cocktails, apéritifs, and café traditions of France with 160 Recipes and gorgeous photos. 

Price: approximately 20 Euros (price depends on site and format)
Where to buy: Your favorite bookshop or order online

Jacquard Francais French Linen bar towels

Jacquard Francais has been in business since the late 1800’s and specializes in traditionally crafted French linen with a contemporary look. So buy some cute towels for your friend’s bar. You could probably score some nice cocktail napkins as well.

Price: 15 Euros
Where to buy: French website (they also have sites for other countries) and large department stores

20 to 50 Euros

La Thériaque craft gin from the South of France*

This newly released gin is the creation of two American expats who call now call the South of France home. Choose from two different expressions: the Pic Pic (great in cocktails) and Garigue (conceived as an after dinner sipping gin).

Cost: 48 – 54 Euros
Where to buy:  La Theriaque Gin website (available in the UK as well as France)

Chestnut Whiskey Liqueur for Distillerie Des Aravis

Made with a secret family recipe, this liqueur blends chestnuts from Ardeche macerated with sugar for five weeks and then blended with whiskey. it’s part of the portfolio of les Coquetelers and they also have some other holiday worthy options like their liqueurs to pine and gingerbread.

Price: 50 Euros
Where to buy: Coquetelers website

Shake it Easy bottled cocktails delivered to your door*

Sure budding home bartenders can shake up plenty of cocktails, but sometimes it’s nice to let someone else do the work. Shake it Easy delivers cocktails in Paris in an hour or within 48 hours throughout France. They also offer gift certificates.

Price: 20 – 30 Euros
Where to buy: Shake it Easy Website

Best of Nice Cuisine Series Virtual Class from les Petits Farcis

Because one cannot live on cocktails alone, I’m throwing in some food and drink classes that should appeal to the cocktail minded.  This virtual class brings the flavors of Nice into your home. (They’ve got some other interesting online offers, too!)

Price: 45 Euros
Where to buy: Les Petits Farci website

La Cuisine Paris cooking classes and gift certificates

La Cuisine Paris is the reference when it comes to English speaking cooking classes and culinary tours in Paris. Fortunately, they have launched a series of six online courses focusing on classic french recipes (macaron, bread, sauces, etc) for those who can’t (yet) make it to Paris to learn in person. 

Price: 37 Euros
Where to buy: La Cuisine Paris website

50 to 100  Euros

Sab’s La Fine, Vintage 2019 

Eaux de Vies made from the lees of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines from Burgundy at an artisanal distillery in Beaune. It’s a small batch production with only 2,000 bottles for this vintage. 

Price: 99 Euros
Where to buy: website

Évadé Red Wine Cask Finish Single Malt French Whisky

While you might think more often Cognac, Armagnac and Calvados when it comes to French spirits, whisky is widely consumed in France and the number of distilleries in the country continues to grow, making it a nice gift for something a little unexpected from the region.

Price 54,90 Euros
Where to buy: Fine spirits boutiques or online shops like the Whisky Shop

Camp Cassoulet Online Courses

Nothing like a hearty cassoulet to soak up some cocktails. Kate Hill, founder of Camp Cassoulet, in Gascony has begun doing online versions of this excellent event, making it way more accessible for those who can’t jet off to France for the real life experience.

Price $75
Where to buy: Kate Hill at Camont website

100 to 200 Euros

Rare or antique French spirits from Les Petits Celliers

Vintage spirits and liqueurs can taste distinctly different from their current counterparts due to changes in the bottle, production methods and recipes over the decades. Give the cocktail lover in your life the opportunity to travel back in time with a vintage spirit. I always recommend going with a reputable provider and my favorite is Les Petits Celliers for a nice selection of French products in a range of prices.

Price: 100+
Where to buy: Les Petits Celliers website

French Sparkling Sampler

La Cuisine has paired up with the Paris Wine Company to deliver a selection of French sparkling wines to sip straight or elevate your bubbly cocktails. Each case contains six bottles, with 2 bottles from each of the three carefully small-producers.

Price: 169 Euros
Where to buy: La Cuisine website

Everything You Need To Know About Wine online course

For cocktail experts who are new to the world of wine but want to expand their liquid knowledge, Lyon-based Wine Dine Caroline has an online class to teach you everything you need to know about wine. Plus, when you sign up, you get 30 repours as a gift, to help keep your wine fresh for the duration of the course.

Price: Normally $397, but half price for black Friday through cyber monday!
Where to buy: Wine Dine Caroline website

200 and up

HSE Brut de Fût 2007 Chene Francais aged rhum agricole

This rhum agricole is made in the French territory Martinique and aged in French oak barrels. This cask strength limited edition only released 500 bottles, so it’s a special treat given its increasing rarity. (And my bottle is almost empty should anyone be shopping for me)

Price:  200 Euros

Where to buy: Various online websites, Dugas Club, but check around for best shipping options for your location

VIP Gifts

Limited Edition Légendaire Cognac from Maison Ferrand

Maison Ferrand has long held a solid reputation amongst the cocktail crowd. Their 1840 Original Formula is a nicely priced great quality cognac popular for mixing in classic and modern craft cocktails. But, beyond this, they have a wide range of quality cognac made with heart and soul. While they have a portfolio of affordably and worthy options, they’ve got a real show stopper should you want to really wow someone with their limited edition Legendaire. It comes in a crystal decanter created by French crystal maker Waltersperger and is one of those “once in a lifetime” cognac experiences. Owners of the bottle don’t just get the lovely liquid inside, but join the “circle of owners” to which the code on the bottle gives you access. 

Price: 2800 Euros
Where to buy: Prices vary depending on website, so search online for your best location

Coming soon…

Own a barrel on the world’s first floating cellar

In other news from Maison Ferrand, they continue to create and innovate like with their newly acquired 1948 Barge, which will be equipped to hold some 1,500 barrels for aging spirits at sea. Barge 166 will start off on the Seine in the spring of 2021 and be used to explore the effects of ‘dynamic aging’ on the spirits as well as welcome friends of the house and producers. Additionally, barrels will be made available for purchase for the public who want to age their spirits aboard the barge and visit to follow the progress.

Keep an eye on Maison Ferrand for future news and pricing.

French Cheese Workshops Online

Jennifer Greco, of Chez Loulou blog, and also my partner in crime for the Cocktails X Cheese project, will be starting up online cheese workshops in the near future. There’s no one better to teach you about French cheese. Keep an eye on her site for the course launch. In the meantime, she has teamed up with Context Conversations and La Cuisine Paris to offer virtual cheese education and tastings.

Price: 29-32 Euros
Where to buy: La Cuisine website and Context Conversations website

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