You are planning a trip to France ? Most tourists try to imitate French people’s lifestyle, mainly when it comes to drinking… However, many implicit rules exist and need to be known to be able to drink like a Frenchman. At first, it can be intimidating, but don’t worry, it is not that hard ! It is always better to know the label, literally and figuratively, to drink like the perfect Frenchman. Most of these French rules apply to wine, however, the consumption of others beverages is rather similar in this country.
Don’t drink wine without food
Make sure to not drink wine without eating, notably red wine. In France, not a single person drinks red wine without food. Rosé alone is acceptable, white wine once in a while, but definitely not red wine ! If you will be drinking your glass of red wine outside meal times, enjoy it with an appetizer, a little something to snack on like a piece of cheese with some delicious warm bread or some cold meat.
What you drink also depends on the season !
Know how to match wine and foodIn general, white wine accompanies all fishes, seafood and deserts. Red wine accompanies meat dishes, tomatoes, vegetables and cheese. And you can enjoy rosé as an appetizer. What you drink also depends of the season. Rosé and white wine are very popular during summer whereas red wine tends to be more popular during winter. Of course, it is also suggested to not always follow the rules and create your own one ! For example, a dry white wine like a Gewurztraminer is perfect to accompany duck.
Don’t fill your glass to the brimDon’t do this in France, it won’t be appreciated by local people since it is seen as very rude. Wine is made to be savoured, not to get drunk ! These good manners are essential, they represent the elegance and the French chic. If you fill your glass of wine to the brim, you will seem wrongly educated.
Avoid using ice cubesAvoid using ice cubes if you want to drink like a Frenchman ! However some people appreciate them in a glass of white wine or rosé but it definitely looses the spectacular taste of the wine since it dilutes it. Wines that are made to be drink fresh are served in an ice bucket to preserve coolness. But never, no matter what, are glasses of wine served with ice cubes in it. Finally, red wine must be served at room temperature.
Propose a toast to each person at the table
Now that the food is served, ready to be savoured, that your glass is filled perfectly and without any ice cubes … it is time to propose a toast ! Raise your glass and sing in unisson « Santé ! » or « Tchin tchin ! » while looking straight in the eyes of the person next to you. At first you will raise your glass with everybody and in a second time, you will ring your glass against each guest’s glass while making sure to look at them straight in the eyes.
Other implicit rules to drink like a Frenchman
French people are proud of their country and their local products so they generally prefer French wine. It is incongruous to bring a bottle of foreign wine to a diner (it’s not forbidden, it’s just not correct) ! Ladies, be careful, you shouldn’t leave any traces of lipstick on your glass. When they don’t drink wine, French people enjoy having a beer or other alcohols such as some cognac, some pastis (an appetizer with flavor of anis served with water and ice), some kir (white wine with creme de cassis) or some calvados (a liquor of apples distilled from cider). Always with class, drinking excessively is less common in France that in English-speaking countries