The name of this drink should actually be Amer bière, but everyone is talking about Picon bière because Picon is the brand name of the most famous Amer in France. However, Picon does not have an alcohol-free version of its Amer, so we are forced to look for an alternative. With Sommer and Wolfberger we already found two non-alcoholic substitutes for Picon. You could also use The Bitter Note to make an Amer Bière.
A Picon biere is served in every café in the French Alsace region. The drink can also be found on the menu of some pubs in the North of France. In the rest of France they know what you are talking about when you ask for a Picon Bière, but it may well be that the barkeep looks a bit surprised when you order one. It is not inconceivable that you will find a café with non-alcoholic Amer in Alsace, in the rest of France you should not really count on it. If you want to enjoy this delicious cocktail, you are best off getting a bottle of alcohol-free Amer yourself.
A cocktail with beer is rather exceptional. According to the legend, the Picon bière was created because in the 19th century the quality of French beer was not of a particularly good quality. To make the beer a bit more palatable, Amer was added. Nowadays there are two versions of the Picon bière: one with and one without added lemon syrup. If you ever order a Picon in Alsace and the bartender asks: “avec ou sans (with or without)”, he really just wants to know if you want your Picon bière with or without lemon syrup. In the recipe below, which is childishly simple, you can therefore decide for yourself whether or not to add lemon syrup. If you do not have lemon syrup, you can easily make it by mixing equal parts of lemon juice and sugar together and heating it up until the sugar has been absorbed by the lemon juice.
In our recipe we used the Sommer’s Amer, because it’s slightly sweeter than Wolfberger and we found its taste to match better with the beer.
What do you need?
- 3 cl. Non alcoholic Amer (We used Sommer, you can also use Wolfberger or The Bitter Note)
- 25 cl. non alcoholic lager (preferably one that is not too sweet)
- If you want, a little lemon syrup to your own taste
How do you make it?
Pour 3 cl. Alcohol-free Amer in your glass + a little lemon syrup if you want to make a Picon Bière ‘Avec’. Carefully pour your non-alcoholic beer in the glass. That’s all. Cheers!