A Spirited European Journey with Frenchie and Friends Canned Cocktails! (Fun fact before we start, I read an SEO thing that said I have to write a keyword phrase and then use it in my blog posts. Which I find super annoying. So I’m trying out just starting each blog post with the phrase I come up with and seeing if that will make the internet love me more. 😉 )
Is it trite to be pining for a European vacation? Yes. It absolutely is. Am I doing so anyway? 100% . Not least because my parents just left to spend two months back home in Norway, but then immediately turned around to go on a sailing tour of the British Isles. AND I’m getting photos from my brother who lives in Oslo but is vacationing in Portugal. But whatever. I can go on a tour IN MY MIND. And that will have to suffice for the present. Do you want to come with me? I thought it might be fun to take you on a wee tour to the places that inspired each of our Frenchie & Friends cocktails. So, allow me to put on my best tour guide voice. Ahem, ahem…
Welcome, cocktail connoisseurs and adventure seekers! (Pretend I’m talking on one of those speaker things on a tour bus.) Today, we invite you to embark on a whimsical journey across Europe, tracing the inspirations behind Frenchie and Friends’ delightful canned cocktails. With a suitcase full of flavors and a thirst for exploration, we’ll uncover the hidden gems and tantalizing tales that have shaped these remarkable libations. So, grab your drink of choice and let’s set off on an unforgettable adventure!
Stop 1: Venice – The Spritzy Serenade
Our first stop is the enchanting city of Venice, a place where every sip feels like a serenade. The inspiration behind Frenchie and Friends’ Vélo spritz, Venice exudes an undeniable allure that captures the essence of this classic cocktail. As we wander the labyrinthine streets and cruise the picturesque canals, the architectural wonders of Venice come alive. The iconic Grand Canal, adorned with elegant palazzos and charming bridges, serves as the lifeblood of the city. Gondolas glide through the shimmering waters, carrying tales of ancient romance and Venetian grandeur. Among the architectural marvels, the magnificent St. Mark’s Square stands tall, adorned with the resplendent Basilica di San Marco. Its intricate Byzantine design, gilded mosaics, and soaring bell tower tell the stories of a rich and captivating past.
Venturing deeper into the city, we encounter the Rialto Bridge, an architectural masterpiece that spans the bustling Grand Canal. From here, we can admire the vibrant colors of the local market stalls, brimming with fresh fruits, fragrant spices, and the citrusy zest that flavors the iconic Venetian spritz. Did you know that the spritz has been a beloved Venetian tradition since the days of the Austrian Empire? Originally introduced as a way to soften the local wines, the spritz quickly became a symbol of conviviality and relaxation in this timeless city.
Stop 2: Normandy – A Toast to Tradition
Our next stop takes us to the picturesque region of Normandy, the purported inspiration for Frenchie and Friends’ eponymous cocktail, Frenchie. Surrounded by lush green landscapes, charming villages, and a rich tapestry of history, Normandy sets the stage for a toast to tradition. A masterpiece of the collaboration between nature and humans, the iconic Mont Saint-Michel, beckons us with its awe-inspiring beauty. Perched atop a rocky island and embraced by the ebb and flow of the tides, this abbey-turned-fortress stands as a testament to human ingenuity and devotion. As we explore the quaint towns and rolling countryside, the sweet scent of apple orchards fills the air.
The historic town of Bayeux unfolds before us, home to the remarkable Bayeux Tapestry—a captivating visual chronicle of the 11th-century Norman conquest of England. Its intricate embroidery depicts battles, courtly life, and the legendary story of William the Conqueror (and something I have been obsessed with since I saw it in an Eyewitness book in 2nd grade). Speaking of legends, legend has it that the French 75 cocktail, which our Frenchie pays homage to, derived its name from World War I soldiers who, after consuming this potent elixir, felt as though they were being hit by the French 75mm field gun—a kind of freaky and violent image that I suppose could be interpreted as a testament to the drink’s strength and invigorating character.
Stop 3: Isle of Write – Stirred by Childhood Memories
Our final stop whisks us away to the captivating Isle of Write, a land of literary charm but also mixological inspiration. This picturesque island, a quick two hour ferry ride from London, provided the childhood backdrop for Dick Bradsell, the creator of the Bramble cocktail. This is the cocktail from which the inspiration for our Briar cocktail comes. Bradsell grew up picking blackberries from the bushes around his home, and the memory of these flavors led him to create the Bramble years later while working at a bar in London. The Isle of Write, also known as the Isle of Wight (that’s not confusing or anything), has a rich maritime history and is famous for hosting the first recorded yacht race in 1826—a tradition that continues to this day during the Cowes Week regatta, drawing sailors and enthusiasts from around the world. It has been a popular holidays destination since the Victorian era. The island is surrounded by stunning beaches and punctuated by pastoral villages. With its idyllic atmosphere, it may surprise you to know that the Isle of Write/Wight/Whateveryouwant has a rich smuggling history, mainly the smuggling of wool and brandy (contrabands I can totally get behind). Poet Sydney Dobell visited the area in 1860 and observed: “The whole population here are smugglers. Everyone has an ostensible occupation, but no one gets his money by it, or cares to work in it. Here are fishermen who never fish, but always have pockets full of money, and farmers whose farming consists of ploughing deep by night, and whose daily time is spent standing like herons on lookout posts.”
Ok, that was a whirlwind. Three cocktails, three special places. Lots of tour guide tidbits. And sure, we aren’t really there, but we can still enjoy our Frenchie and Friends canned cocktails. Which are at least a flavor adventure?? They ARE a flavor adventure. Raise your glass, embrace the wanderlust, and embark on your own spirited voyage with Frenchie and Friends! 😉