Please sign in to post.

Suggestions for a "go-to" sweeter drink in Paris/France, (other than soda)?

I admit it -- I'm a picky drinker, and I really don't like anything that tastes bitter to me. So, I don't drink most wine, beer, or coffee. (My wine pick would be a very sweet Moscato or Prosecco, and really don't like beer or regular coffee or most tea.) When in Germany, my local answer was "spezi," the orange juice and cola mix. (Yes, sometimes it was on the children's menu, and, yes, often my husband's large beer cost the equivalent or less(!) but it felt like a local choice, even though the ingredients aren't local.) Could there be a readily available, non-bitter drink (lower-alcohol OK) that I could try? Ideally, something that might be available at a reasonable number of cafes, etc. Maybe apple cider, or hot chocolate or ??? If worse comes to worse, I stick with (tap) water or a soda, but sometimes would like a more local flavor. We'll be there in October. Thanks for any ideas (or reinforcement of my few suggestions).

Posted by
293 posts

yes, you can ask for a Weiss Wein Schorle, (pronounced Vice Vine Shor-la) which is (normally) a nice light Riesling mixed with sparkling water. De-lish!

Right now, the Aperol-spritz is all the rage, but Aperol is bitter.

Oops, I don't know what they call that in France...

Posted by
5579 posts

Sometimes I like hard cider, if its not too sweet and has some flavor, but I didn't care for the French hard cider we had in Normandy. It is dry which I thought I would like but seems to have a yeasty quality, which I did not like. They are very into rose' in France. Have you tried that? or the Alsatian Gewurztraminer is delicious. It is a sweeter wine with interesting flavor notes. What about a wine spritzer with a sweeter wine and some soda? One of my adult daughters does not drink alcohol or coffee, she was delighted to try some of the varieties of Fanta in Europe, but I don't recall seeing a lot of Fanta in France. Sounds like you might like a mimosa (sparkling wine and orange juice). In Alsace, I tasted some wine, I can't recall the name, but its "new wine" so just made and it had a lower alcohol level and was sweeter. Tasted a lot like the juice to me. Hot chocolate is quite prevalent and delicious in Paris, though I'm not sure you can expect it in most brassieres. Fortunately in France, they are willing to provide tap water (no charge) without any kind of stigma. When in France, I wouldn't worry about ordering a drink when nothing available seems appealing.

Posted by
3206 posts

My suggestion is sparkling water with a couple splashes of cranberry juice. Bonus, feels like you are “drinking” even though you aren’t!

Posted by
734 posts

As a child i alwas drank Orangina, its like Fanta but better. Dont forget in Europe Cider is always a strong alcholic drink!

Posted by
13899 posts

Often cafes will have freshly squeezed OJ which is delish. Some will have lemonade-type drinks. You can always order sparkling water and if you want to go all out add the sparkle to the juice.

I like Aperol Spritz but I agree they are bitter!

Posted by
5252 posts

How about a shandy or panaché in French, a mixture of beer and lemonade. Not only does it sweeten the drink but also dilutes the alcohol content.

Posted by
1307 posts

Orangina is nice, and I like it. Have you tried lemon presse? It’s a fresh lemonade that you make at your table so it can be as sweet as you would like.
Cheers!

Posted by
10170 posts

Just to clarify JC’s excellent suggestion—panaché is with “limonade” which is a sweetened soda water with a light lemon flavor. It’s not fresh-squeezed lemons with water and sugar. Lemonade is as described by SharYn, citron pressé.
Panaché is my go-to.

Gini is the standard lemon-lime soda.

Diablo menthe—limonade with mint syrup, can also be order with flat water, which is called l’eau à la menthe,
Other syrups that could interest—grenadine (red but I’ve never figured out what’s really in it), orgeat which is an almond base. All ordered with either water or limonade.
There’s usually a lineup of syrup bottles behind the bar. The waiter can tell you what flavors are available.

Hot chocolate, beware. Some places make the thick, Angelina-style chocolate that could substitute for a dessert. Others throw a powder into hot water.

Herbal tea is called a tisane. There are combos you won’t find in the States, so it’s an opportunity to try: linden+mint, règles+mint, etc.

For sweeter cider ask for cidre doux, but it still may be too bitter for you. Brut is the dry cider.

Posted by
8 posts

Belgian lambic beers are sweet, taste like soda, and usually lower in alcohol, 3 to 4% ish. There is a Belgian beer pub 1 block north of Ile de Cite, Au Trappiste at 4 rue Saint Denis . There is also the German style radler, which is half beer and either half lemonade or citrus soda. Any pub that has German beers can make one, or you could make it yourself.

Posted by
200 posts

I enjoy a Kir Royal — champagne and Crème de Cassis (sweet, dark red liqueur made from blackcurrants)

Jules, I believe you are referring to Beaujolais Nouveau (new wine).

Posted by
1334 posts

I second Bets with a Diabolo. I love getting a diabolo fraise (strawberry). It always hits the spot,

Posted by
5579 posts

BJL, no not Beaujolais nouveau which is a Burgundian red and is fermented longer. I don't think the OP would enjoy it as it is not sweet. I'm not sure if "beverage' is just Alsatian or if other regions have it but it was a white grape, just barely aged, just a little beyond juice. I had it in Colmar and it seemed to be a special festival.

I just did some googling, "At the beginning of autumn, the harvest period provides the opportunity to taste the new wine, the famous "Neier Siasser" ("Neier": new, "Siasser": sweet), a drink somewhere between grape juice and wine. It is sampled with nuts and cured ham accompanied by country bread during this festive weekend that is held at the end of September"

Posted by
6868 posts

Jules is not referring to Beaujolais Nouveau (that's red and not sweet), but to Neier Siasser or "Vin Nouveau", white, sweet and low in alcohol. The time to drink it is basically now.

Posted by
8030 posts

I first met the diabolo when I saw women at a cafe near Picpus drinking bright green drinks -- I asked them and they told me they were diabolo menth -- mint and sprite didn't seem that appealing but I discovered they use many different flavors so my go to now for a soda like drink is a Diabolo Citron -- sometimes they come complete and other times with the flavor in a glass and the soda on the side.

Fruit juices 'presse' are also often available.

Posted by
11294 posts

In supermarkets, you can get Schweppes Agrume (agrume means citrus). It's a mixture of citrus flavors, and I prefer it to orange or lemon soda (also available). While Schweppes Lemon is sold all over Europe (cafes as well as supermarkets), I have only seen Schweppes Agrume in French supermarkets.

A citron pressé is fresh squeezed lemon, sugar, and water, served separately; you mix them to taste. However, since it's lemon-based, you might need a lot of sugar to make it palatable. You may prefer an orange pressé instead. These are available at cafes, but not usually at restaurants. Note that this is also true of many of the other beverages mentioned in this thread, such as diabolo menthe. At restaurants, you'll probably have to "make do" with sodas, as I do.

Posted by
9420 posts

My favorite is citron pressé, as Sharyn mentioned. Should come with sugar and a carafe of water. Sometimes they don’t bring sugar, or enough water, so i ask for it. I especially like ordering a Perrier or a Badoit Rouge (very carbonated) and using that instead of tap water. It makes a sparkling lemonade, which i love.

I also like just a Perrier or Badoit Rouge. Badoit Vert is like tap water to me.

Someone mentioned Orangina and Fanta. They’re both very good, because they use real sugar here - not corn syrup like in the US.

When i order a hot chocolate here i always ask if it’s real hot chocolate (ancienne), i haven’t had a problem getting it here at nicer cafés.

Posted by
15573 posts

grenadine is a sweet nonalcoholic syrup made from pomegranates. Ciders (alcoholic and often fizzy) range from sweet to dry. The sweet ones often have another fruit added. The alcohol content is usually similar to that of beer. Aperol spritz is one of my faves, it's somewhat sweet and has a pretty high alcohol content - Aperol is a somewhat bitter sweet orange liqueur at 11% alcohol, mixed with prosecco (minimum 10.5%, and fairly dry wine), and a small splash of seltzer. You might be able to get a Bellini - prosecco with peach puree or nectar. That would be less alcohol and sweeter.

Posted by
8 posts

You have to try the hot chocolate! I had the best I’ve ever had in Paris. I loved getting a small pitcher of melted chocolate then another pitcher of steamed milk. Then you mix your own. I don’t drink coffee so I had hot chocolate every day and didn’t have a bad cup.

Posted by
12172 posts

When you order orange juice it's generally fresh and sweet. Most grocery stores, or at least many, have a self-serve machine that squeezes oranges to order. I didn't use it but I think you can squeeze a personal (soda) sized drink fresh whenever you want.

Posted by
9420 posts

Lots of produce stores all over Paris, they have different size bottles of fresh squeezed OJ. I’ve never tasted better OJ in my life (i was told oranges are from Spain).

Posted by
1334 posts

I must also say that the fruit juices offered in France aren't your run of the mill apple/grape/orange. There is such a great variety. Pear juice! One of my absolute faves!

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks SO much for all of the great ideas. This will help me step outside of the tap water or cola loop. Everyone here is so helpful. I will try to post about our Paris trip experiences when we return (especially Versailles and Louvre updates). Didn’t discover the joys of the thicker hot chocolate until we were well into an Italy trip about five years ago; I would have had it every day. Love some of the flavor suggestions, too.

Posted by
14497 posts

I would suggest, as above, a Grenadine in Paris/France aside from mineral water?

Posted by
153 posts

If you want to have an alcoholic drink you might consider Lillet. It comes in a variety of forms, but either the white or rose over ice might suit your taste. If that seems a bit bitter, you might like one of the sweeter Cremants, i.e., French Champagne-like wine not bottled in the Champagne region. Some of them are like Prosecco. Also, they cost much less than Champagne.

Posted by
8 posts

St Germain is a French liquor made from flowers. It is sweet and has a very distinctive taste. It is delicious mixed with champagne.

Posted by
613 posts

Many EU liqueurs are very sweet. We stick with Limoncello and Mariellen, but I'm sure there are more.

Posted by
529 posts

Floc deGascogne. It is armagnac grape juice mixed with some armagnac. It is best served cold.