Apéro Skype time? France’s evening drinks ritual for lockdown

If you've spent any time in France you will know that apéro - the evening pre-dinner drink - is a big deal. But how are people managing this in the age of lockdown?

Apéro Skype time? France's evening drinks ritual for lockdown
Don't let lockdown come between you and drinks with friends. Photo by Elevate on Unsplash

Well, with the aid of modern technology of course.

As people get used to the new reality of lockdown, messages are flying around France 'anyone for apéro Skype this evening?'


France is not giving up its evening drinks ritual without a fight, and people stuck at home alone are arranging online drinks with friends.

READ ALSO France in lockdown: What are the rules?

Known known as apéro Skype, skapéro or coronapéro, the new ritual has taken off rapidly in just the last two weeks.

Skype (or any other video calling platform) is ideal for this – just set up the call for a group of friends then prepare your drinks and nibbles and commence Friday night chat.

If nothing else, it's a good reason to change out of your pyjamas, the tweeter below is even planning on washing her hair for the occasion.


But the apéro itself has some very specific rules, which not even a global pandemic look likely to dent.

Apéro, short for apéritif, is pre-dinner drinks with some light snacks.


The traditional apéro distinguishes itself from a casual drink by its timing (pre-meal) and presence of fairly posh nibbles, but yes, you'll often hear the term used and abused in any situation involving evening drinks.

Among students in particular, the apéro can mean drinks consumed for the whole evening or night and is often never followed by any kind of meal.

Pastis is a popular apéro drink as is kir (white wine with the addition of crème de cassis, peach or even raspberry) or Campari, Aperol or Vermouth.

The apéro occupies a big place in French culture. Photo: AFP

Wine is not really a traditional apéro drink, particularly red wine which is supposed to be drunk with food, but white wine is becoming increasingly popular, especially sweet or sparkling varieties.

And although beer is not on the strict apéro list either many young people have started drinking it at this time, particularly with the emergence of a thriving craft ale scene in French cities.

The food is supposed to be something that will whet your appetite but not spoil your dinner.

Think delicate finger food – salmon blinis, olives, breads and pâtés, slices of cheese, saucisson. 

Taramasalata (or just tarama in France) is a pillar of the apéro as is houmous, tapenade and bowls of cherry tomatoes. Foie gras might even be served up for the posher aperitifs.

Apéro usually lasts a couple of hours and the classic apéro time is between 6pm and 9pm, depending on when you plan to eat.

So there you go – no need to forgo Friday night drinks during lockdown and no tedious travelling or long waits at the bar.


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