Bars turn to French flavours to celebrate Bastille Day


Cafe Francais Little Social

Allons, enfants: it is time to celebrate Bastille Day – the French national day of celebration on July 14. Bars around London are marking it with special cocktail menus drawing on classic French ingredients.

Jason Atherton’s Anglo-French restaurant Little Social has launched a menu of playful, French-inspired cocktails, such as the light and floral From Provence With Love, a combination of Bombay Sapphire gin, dry vermouth, peach and lavender that calls to mind the purple fields of the south of France.

Also on the list is the rich and heady Café Francais (pictured above), a French take on an Irish Coffee that blends Comte de Lauvia armagnac with orange, vanilla, coffee cream and black walnut.

Another addition to the menu, described as “particularly nostalgic and creative”, is the Grown up Carambar which mixes Bacardi Ocho rum, Pedro Ximenez sherry and amontillado sherry with salted butter caramel to recreate the taste of the classic French sweet.

Seymour’s Parlour at The Zetter Townhouse Marylebone is celebraing Bastille Day with a special menu of four cocktails, available from today until Saturday, July 16.

Fleurs du mal

The Fleurs du mal (pictured) combines a rose and orris vodka with lemon and absinthe while the Champs Elysees is a mix of cognac, lemon juice, sugar, Green Chartreuse and bitters. There is also a traditional-style Mauresque, with absinthe and orgeat topped up with water, and a classic French 75, made with gin, lemon juice, sugar and champagne.

A number of drinks are being recommended for toasting Bastille Day with classic French liqueur brand Bénédictine. They range from a simple Crazy Ben – mixing Bénédictine with tonic over ice, garnished with a slice or zest of lemon – to the French Passion which is recommended for pairing with shellfish such as moules marinières.

French Passion
1.5 measures Bombay Sapphire gin
1 measure Bénédictine liqueur
1 measure Noilly Prat Dry vermouth
1.5 measures Passion fruit juice
1 large dash Grenadine
Add ingredients to a shaker two-thirds filled with ice and shake. Strain into a chilled flute glass. Garnish with a slice of orange.

meridien piccadilly

Le Méridien Piccadilly is celebrating Bastille Day today at its Terrace Grill & Bar – part of a three-month partnership with its sister hotel Le Méridien Nice. Running since June 21, if features Summer Soirées, bringing classic 1970s Riviera style to the bar with its own Promenade des Anglais boardwalk, deck chairs, parasols, palm trees and pétanque ground (pictured above).

Alongside a range of antipasti created by Le Méridien Piccadilly’s executive chef Daniel Ayton and Le Méridien Nice’s executive chef Eric Brujan, there is a menu of sparkling cocktails combining classic French flavours with a few British twists.

The list includes Le Bati, combining vermouth, prosecco, strawberries, cucumber and orange juice, and the French Riviera Mojito, made with gin, champagne, fresh rosemary, raspberry purée and lime juice. The Golden Coral is a mix of barrel-aged white rum, dry curaçao, ginger ale, chocolate bitters and vanilla syrup while Le Gari is made with Paul Ricard Pernod, sugar syrup, lemon juice, grapes and mint.

Also available are Cocktail Espadrilles. Priced at £29, this sees a cocktail of vermouth, champagne, mandarin syrup and citrus fruit zest served with a pair of designer espadrilles from Nice-based fashion brand 1789 Cala (while stocks last).

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