On this auspicious Bastille Day, it seems only right to celebrate the unsung heroes of French drinking: the spirits and liqueurs. Everyone knows that France does a pretty good job with making wine, but it also produces some extraordinary spirits, everything from cognac to absinthe to aperitifs—and even rum.
We asked mixologist Natasha David of Nitecap on New York City’s Lower East Side, who just returned from France’s Cognac region, to give us three drinks that celebrate the independence found in these spirits. “I’m a huge fan of low ABV [alcohol by volume] drinking, so on Bastille Day when you’re outside, drinking all day long, it’s nice to drink something that’s a little lighter in alcohol," she said. "Having a drink at 5 p.m. seems kind of decadent, but it’s such a wonderful thing to do on a summer night, to sit outside and have a drink at 5 in the afternoon.”
These cocktails are best consumed post-work over a game of pétanque—followed by crêpe, if you can find one.