LOVE IT: Framboise

posted on: December 30, 2006

I just got home and have a TON of pictures and stories to post from my holiday vacation with family, but before I can get to any of that I want to make sure I told you about MY FAVORITE CELEBRATION DRINK EVER!!! If you live in Indiana, you cannot purchase a bottle of this delectable drink on Sunday (unless you live close to the border of another state which does sell alcohol on Sundays)- so you must PLAN AHEAD and find it TODAY in order to enjoy it on NEW YEARS EVE (unless you'll be celebrating New Year's Eve at a bar with an extensive imported beer selection.) If you missed the boat for New Year's, this would also make a fabulous VALENTINE'S DAY drink to enjoy with your sweetie!! (HINT!!)

Framboise (pronounced fram-bwa) is bottled like a wine, has the fizz of a champagne, but is technically a beer. A Belgian lambic to be exact. This sweet concoction of fermeted rasperries is one of the few alcoholic drinks that has enough complexity in flavors to make all of the tastebuds on my tongue jump for joy. The sweetness of the raspberries wet the front of your tongue and provide a satisfying finish, while the acidity created in fermentation rolls over the sides of your tongue, creating a truly craveable experience.

Framboise should be served chilled in a skinny champagne-like glass so that it can be savored by sipping and so that its fizz doesn't escape too quickly (if you want to be really picky, try finding a true "Lambic Glass".) It pairs very well with a nice dark chocolate, or with fresh berries and sweet whipped cream (this chocolate bag dessert would be the perfect compliment!) It would also be tasty with a simple scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

I think Framboise is the perfect celebration drink because it's a bit pricey to enjoy on a regular basis and you usually have to go to a specialty store to find it. I've seen 750 ml bottles range between $8-$15 with an average price of around $11. If you don't feel like sharing, you may also be able to find smaller 12 oz. bottles for around $5-$9. As mentioned before, it may look like a bottle of wine, but it will be found in the imported beer section. If you're lucky enough to live in or near a city that has a Cost Plus World Market, than you're likely to find a wide selection of lambic flavors at a very fair price. Otherwise, check with your local specialty wine/beer shop. The Raspberry lambic is the only true Framboise (since Framboise means raspberry) - however, a more traditional fruit beer drink would be the Kriek lambic which is made from sour cherries, and thus not as sweet as Framboise.

I was first introduced to Framboise when I lived in Rochester Hills, MI, where my friends and I would visit the Rochester Mills Brewery to hang out after concerts or finals, and occasionally to catch some of our friends performing in bands on the weekends. I asked the waitress if she had a sweet beer, and she introduced me to Framboise- which they actually keep on tap (FYI- Royal Oak Brewery and Detroit Beer Co. carry it as well). Ever since my first sip, I've been in love. I thought I'd never find it again after we moved until I noticed one of my husband's students enjoying a lovely bottle of Framboise at Sonka's here in Terre Haute. I must have felt deprived because as soon as we got back to Michigan for the holidays, I went out and bought several bottles as gifts for my family and one for myself to enjoy with friends we had over while we were in town (though I can't recall if I actually shared any. ;-)).

An interesting combination of drinks that would create a taste similar to that of a Framboise (which I was introduced to by our friend Danielle, who said that she learned of this from some Canadians...), would be to mix either a wheat beer like Bell's Oberon for texture, or a cider beer like Woodchuck Amber for flavor, with black currant juice (which is high in anti-oxidants!) This could be considered the poor man's version, since you can probably make double the amount for about the same price.

4 comments, to add [click here]:

  1. ha! what a coincidence -- Beth and I purchased two bottles for our new year's eve dinner earlier this afternoon.

    now we know what to have on tap when you're in DC!

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  2. Fred- you & Beth have such good taste!!! ;-)

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  3. Uhh, LAMBIC ROCKS!!!!

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  4. Hmmm... does that mean I can get you to visit Terre Haute if I have some Lambic waiting?!

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