Food & Culture

Must-try Alpine drinks for your next holiday

From small-scale distillers to traditional spirits, the French Alps are home to a whole range of drinks that will delight you!

In this article, you will discover the wines, beers, liqueurs and other spirits that will tickle your tastebuds and make your head spin (but not too much!).

Two pieces of bread are dipped into a fondue pot  of melted cheese
A delicious meal to share with friends, a fondue Savoyarde with white wine is a typical mountain dish ©Agap’pro

Wines of the Alps


This white wine is a jewel of the Alps, produced from the Roussanne or “Bergeron” grape variety in Savoie. It boasts fruity and floral notes and is produced by houses such as Domaine Jean Vullien. The name comes from the village of Chignin, where vines have been grown on steep hillsides since the Middle Ages. You can also buy it at Maison Vullien in Fréterive.

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Mondeuse d’Arbin

This robust, spicy red wine is produced mainly in the Arbin region of Savoie. The vineyards of Domaine Trosset produce a high-quality Mondeuse d’Arbin, with aromas of red fruit and pepper.

Crémant de Savoie

This recent appellation (2015) refers to sparkling wines produced using the traditional method. And Domaine Belluard‘s Crémant de Savoie, with its fine bubbles and complex bouquet, is an outstanding example of this.

Roussette de Savoie

A white wine typical of the region, Roussette de Savoie offers notes of ripe fruit, almonds and honey.

Grown mainly around Lake Annecy by passionate winemakers such as Domaine Dupasquier, this variety has a history stretching back centuries.

If you’re keen to pick up a bottle, you can find it in local cellars such as the Cave du Château in Annecy, or find out more about its story on Un jour un vin.

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Vin de Paille

This highly-concentrated dessert wine is made from grapes dried on straw racks. Domaine Pignier in the Jura produces a Vin de Paille with intense aromas of dried fruit, honey and spices.

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Alpine craft beers

La Brasserie du Mont-Blanc

La Brasserie du Mont-Blanc produces exceptional beers, made using water from Alpine glaciers. The Blanche, for example, is a light, refreshing beer with notes of citrus fruit and coriander. The brewery was founded in 1830 but has stood the test of time to produce some unique beers.

You can find them in specialist shops or on their website.

Two beers from the Brasserie du Mont-Blanc, with a sandwich and a knife
La Verte and La Blanche are the flagship beers of the s phares de la Brasserie du Mont Blanc. ©Brewnation

The Brasserie artisanale de Lanslevillard

A hidden gem in the Maurienne Valley, The Brasserie artisanale de Lanslevillard’s speciality is “Cervoise des Glières”, which is an amber beer with notes of honey and dried fruit. The brewery was established in 2010 and grew from a passion for brewing and local produce. The beer is available online and in selected bars and beer cellars in the region.

The Brasserie du Grand Bornand

This Haute-Savoie brewery is renowned for La Bornandine beer, a light blonde with floral and fruity notes. The beer is made with local spring water by a team who are proud of their traditional knowledge.

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La Brasserie Alphand

The Alphand craft brewery in Briançon offers a range of tasty beers, including “La Briançonnaise” lager. This beer, brewed with mountain water, has well-balanced malty and hoppy notes.

La Brasserie des Cîmes

This brewery from Aix-les-Bains is known for its environmentally-friendly approach and its commitment to quality products. Their ‘Piste Noire’, an amber beer with notes of caramel and dried fruit, is a fine example of the art of Alpine brewing.

Six beers from the Brasserie des Cimes in Aix-les-Bains, on a wall in front of a lake
La Brasserie des Cimes, a traditional craft brewery ©Moka Mag

La Brasserie Artisanale des 2 Savoie

This brewery in Chambéry produces a wide range of beers, including Savoie IPA – a golden-coloured beer with a lovely bitterness and notes of exotic fruit. It’s a great discovery for lovers of hoppy beers.

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Traditional Alpine liqueurs and spirits


This legendary plant-based liqueur has been produced by Carthusian monks since the 17th century. Emerald green in colour, it has a complex, powerful aroma. Chartreuse is produced at the Voiron distillery, where you can visit the museum and buy this unique liqueur.


This liqueur is made by macerating the flowers of the Génépi plant, which grows at high altitudes. With its beautiful golden colour and sweet, aromatic taste, Génépi is often produced on a small scale. However, the Distillerie des Alpes in Annecy is one of the few distilleries to produce Génépi on a large scale, as it requires traditional expertise.

A bottle of Génépi surrounded by wood and moss
Génépi, the strength and gentleness of the mountains. ©Le refuge de Marie-Louise.

La Vulnéraire

Less well known, this liqueur made from Alpine plants has a slightly bitter taste, along with sweet notes. It is an artisanal product, produced by small manufacturers such as Distillerie du Vercors. Vulneraria has been used since medieval times for its medicinal properties and can be found in local produce shops or online.

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Myrtille liqueur

The Alps is a region rich in “myrtilles” or bilberries, the little blue fruits that grow wild. Bilberry liqueur is a sweet, fruity spirit with pronounced berry notes and the Distillerie Morand in Valais is renowned for making their own exceptional version of it.

Liqueur des Aravis

This traditional alcoholic beverage comes from the Aravis region of the French Alps. It’s a region renowned for its natural wealth and biodiversity, which inspires many local products, including this famous liqueur.

The Distillerie des Aravis, in La Clusaz, is famous for its Aravis liqueur, which is produced following a traditional recipe, using plants hand-picked from the surrounding mountains. The distillery offers tours and tastings, so you can discover not only the liqueur, but also the skills and passion behind its production.

A bottle of liqueur from the Distillerie des Aravis and a hand holding the seal of the distillery.
A bottle of Aravis liqueur, marked with the seal of the distillery. ©La Clusaz

Pousse d’épinette

This traditional liqueur from the Alps is made by macerating fir shoots in alcohol. It has a unique resinous taste, which is both sweet and slightly bitter. La Maison des Alpes, in Haute-Savoie, produces an authentic version of Pousse d’épinette, so make sure to give it a try!

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Other traditional drinks from the Alps

Alpine mead

Although mead (which is named hydromel in French) is often associated with medieval times, it is still produced in the Alps. This fermented honey-based drink has sweet, fruity notes and can be bought from La Miellerie des Cîmes in the Beaufortain region, directly from their honey farm.

Marc de Savoie

A typical regional eau-de-vie, or brandy, Marc de Savoie is produced from pomace – the residue after the grapes are pressed in the wine-making process. It is a strong spirit with aromas of fruit and undergrowth. Domaine Dupasquier, in Jongieux, produces an exceptional Marc de Savoie, which can be bought online or in wine cellars in the region.

Bottles of brandy from the Maison Dolin, with a knife and a liqueur glass.
Marc de Savoie has a unique and unusual taste. ©Maison Dolin

Chèvre des Alpes

Chèvre des Alpes, a speciality of the Hautes-Alpes, is made from fermented apple must and pear brandy. The combination is aged in oak casks, producing a sweet, fruity drink and the Distillerie Eyguebelle is one of the leading producers of the drink.

Fine de Clairette

This is a brandy made by distilling Clairette wine, which has a fruity, slightly spicy flavour, originating from the Die region. If you’re looking for somewhere to buy it, the Distillerie Comte de Grignan produces a top-quality Fine de Clairette.

Ratafia des Alpes

Ratafia is a drink made by adding brandy to unfermented grape must, which preserves the natural sweetness of the grapes and is generally served as an aperitif or digestif. It can be found at the Distillerie Meunier in Isère.

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From vineyards to breweries, via ancestral distilleries, the richness and diversity of the spirits produced in the French Alps reflect a unique terroir and expertise handed down from generation to generation.

To get the full picture, you could visit specialist cellars such as La Cave du Château in Annecy or La Maison Vullien in Fréterive, which offer tastings and a unique range of products. Each bottle tells a story, combining generations of knowledge and contemporary passion. So raise your glass to the incredible diversity and excellence of French Alpine spirits!

Finally, if you’ve enjoyed this article, you might also like to read:

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