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Local aperitifs in southern France

The previous thread on recommended local drinks is closed, so I'm starting a new one to recommend a delicious aperitif I was served at the Auberge de Maroul, not far from Olargues in the L'Herault region, when I asked for a local one . It's called Cartagène (sometimes spelt Carthagène) and is made at several domaines in the Languedoc-Roussillon. Worth seeking out if you are in that area.
At a totally different level I enjoyed Aperol in Italy - widely stocked and easy to ask for if you have no Italian - but I had the impression it was looked down on by serious drinkers.

Posted by
2560 posts

An Aperol spritz on a hot summer afternoon-delightful. Yeah, it's maligned, but so what?

Posted by
3262 posts

So what are the ingredients in one of these Cartagènes?

Posted by
4660 posts

Pastis is one of the more popular aperitifs in Southern France, preferably the Ricard brand.

Personally I find a small cold beer is the perfect aperitif, particularly when it's warm and you've been on your feet for a while, followed by a small carafe of the local red wine during my meal.

Posted by
8396 posts

To add onto JC:
Pastis a la tomate is with grenadine syrup while "un perroquet" (parrot) is pastis with mint syrup--color inspired names.

Posted by
1887 posts

Yes, as we've mentioned in other threads, the liqueur revival is in full swing, not just many small makers of absinthe but also many new/re-discovered variations on Lillet and Ricard stand-bys that take vermouth and fortified wines to the HNL (whole 'nutha level).

In southwestern France, look for Floc d'Gascogne. In Swiss French areas, look for kinas like L'Aero d'Or by Tempus Fugit (they make others as well). There are vermouths made from a rose base that you don't often see in the US, and they make a good basis for mixed drinks and spritzes of various shades. If you want to stay milky and licorice-y but try something in addition to pastis, look for various orgeat derivatives.

In Languedoc you just have to look for anything with -gard or -garde added to the end to get the local version.

Posted by
5784 posts

An Aperol spritz on a hot summer afternoon-delightful.

The Italians even enjoy an Aperol Spritz during winter. I arrived in Venice during a snowstorm and the the afternoon crowd seemed to favor the drink. Both Aperol and Prosecco however are Italian, not french. (It's probably the french drinkers looking down at the drink). I do agree that it's a refreshing warm weather drink.

Posted by
396 posts

To my delight I spotted Cartagène again in September on the aperitif menu of a modest (almost scruffy) bar down the hill near the bridge in Carcassonne. As delicious as I remembered, though the surroundings were less pleasant.