The art of the cocktail in Southern Europe
An enthusiasm for mixology has given rise to numerous classic cocktails made from local ingredients.
Although its official birthdate is in 1806, back when the first definition of cocktail was published in a New York magazine, the concept did not take off until more than a century later. It was the Prohibition era, and speakeasies saw cocktails as a way to spare their customers the taste of contraband alcohol and to hide its smell from the police. This shady history is far removed from the chic and festive image that predominates today! The trend is indeed towards mixology, allowing chefs and bartenders to show off their creativity and dexterity through daring and personalised creations. The cocktail is an art form in its own right, and it flourishes in France, Italy and Spain.
In France, it was at the beginning of the 20th century that the cocktail became popular in dance halls, cabarets and jazz clubs. At that time, Paris and the French Riviera attracted many American artists and globetrotters, who greatly influenced the Années Folles nightlife. In fact, many cocktails with English names – Blue Lagoon, French 75, Bloody Mary – were created in the French capital.
Paris continues to celebrate this heritage with classic or signature recipes. For cocktails on a terrace near the most emblematic sites, try the luxurious Bar du Faubourg, located just a stone’s throw from La Concorde and the Tuileries Gardens, or head for the greenery of 18.75, a lounge bar in the heart of Montmartre.
In addition to wine, Italy is famous for its apéritifs and digestifs, many of which are used to make cocktails. There’s the Americano based on Campari and vermouth, the Amaretto Sour with its namesake liqueur, and the Spritz – a mixture of Aperol, Prosecco and tonic that has conquered the world. While in Rome, you can savour the arte di vivere on the terrace of Settimo. This panoramic bar near the Villa Borghese offers revisited classic cocktails with a sumptuous view.
Sangria is arguably the first Spanish cocktail that comes to mind. This drink of fruits steeped in red wine, then mixed with ginger ale or sparkling water, is emblematic of the entire Iberian Peninsula. The Spanish are not shy about transforming their many wines into refreshing drinks, such as tinto de verano, also made from red wine, or agua de Valencia, which combines cava (a sparkling Spanish wine), gin, vodka and fresh orange juice. To conclude your adventures in Madrid with a poolside cocktail, head to Insolito. This bar and restaurant with panoramic terrace is a veritable oasis where you and your friends can gather around excellent housemade creations.
Le Bar du Faubourg
Average meal price 43 EUR
A chic restaurant, a tea room to take a break during a shopping spree, the perfect bar for gourmet happy hour with colleagues… Everything is possible at the Bar du Faubourg, our establishment in the heart of Paris combining fashion chic with the delights of bistronomy.
Le SpeakArt Bar
Cocktail bar, Terrace
Average meal price 25 EUR
Do you dream of visiting Paris' best-kept secret for a drink or snack? You'll be blown away by our bar and its plant-filled terrace! Speak’art offers a slice of paradise in the heart of Montmartre, away from the crowds and noise, where you can relax, chat with friends, brunch in the sun, and more!
Average meal price 30 EUR
With its unique fusion menu, relaxed atmosphere and creative cocktail list, Insólito is more than just a restaurant. It is a true oasis in Madrid, and the perfect place to experience our city at its best. Step inside for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and allow us to surprise you from appetizers to dessert.
Settimo Roman Cuisine & Terrace
Average meal price 80 EUR
Contemporary roman cuisine, creative drinks, and a breathtaking view from the rooftop: Settimo has it all for an all-round sensory experience. Have a seat under the wide Roman sky and enjoy the very best our city has to offer. Our products are selected with care and sourced locally.
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