France is known for its fashion, food, and elegant culture, but did you know what also makes the area well known?

France has spirits that are specially protected and can’t be produced in other regions. Spirits that are protected get recognized by Appellation of Origin Control (AOC). This food labeling term applies to the style, ingredients, and origin of a product.

It’s very known that to produce Cognac, it needs to take place in the Cognac region of France. Same thing as Chardonnay or Armagnac. However, other spirits are like this as well. Let’s explore some of them.

Sugar Cane

Sugar Cane


This alcoholic drink is made in the north-western region of France. It’s made by mixing apple juice with an apple brandy to yield this mixture that is 16-18% ABV. By mixing two-thirds of unfermented apple juice and one-third of an old-year-old Calvados, it leaves behind a mahogany-like colored liquid. Pommeau has a smooth texture with notes of vanilla, caramel, and often butterscotch. It’s a must-try if visiting France and eating dessert, specifically an apple-based dish.

Pineau des Charentes

Although somewhat uncommon in other places, this fortified wine or apéritif from unfermented grape juice. From there, a Cognac eau-de-vie gets added then it’s matured for at least 18 months, which includes a minimum of 8 months in oak barrels. The dominantly white wine ranges in a 16-22% ABV and the red or rosé Pineau typically is 17%.

A Cliff along the coast of Normandy

A Cliff Along the Coast of Normandy

Rhum Agricole

Somewhat new to the U.S., this rhum is different than those that have been on the market. Rhum Agricole can only be produced from fresh-pressed juice of sugar cane. This process must begin in the fermentation process with a day, or it will spoil. Because of this, it keeps a distinct taste of where it from in France. Agricole is French for agricultural, so it has a grassy and earthy flavor. 

Pays d’Auge

Since 1996, Pays d’Auge has been protected by the AOC. This type of cider needs to be made from 70% bitter and bittersweet apples and has a short maceration process. This produces a medium-dry cider that is clear with golden, orangey gleams. It has a round and balanced sweetness and makes the perfect accompaniment to white meat or fresh cream desserts.