| 2 min read
Half en half is a typical drink from Brussels. Invented in the late 1930ies, this festive drink is served in a champagne glass and contains 50% white wine and 50% champagne. When you visit the Belgian capital for the first time or guide your visiting friends around, this is one of the unique things you should definitely try when in Brussels.
Where does this beverage come from?
One theory is that it was invented by the art nouveau café Cirio next to Bourse when there was a temporary shortage of Spumante. Another is that stockbrokers who had a bad day couldn't afford real champagne. You should know that after a good day, stockbrokers invited everyone for champagne. But losers didn't have the means to do so and looked for an alternative. They asked the waiter to fill half the glass with champagne and complete with white wine. The result is a drink with the same color, a similar taste and it still has bubbles. After a few rounds no one notices the difference.
Café Cirio is a beautiful Art Nouveau café which is frequented by tourists and locals alike. The waiters still wear a black costume, just as in the old days. And they're skilfully trained to prepare the perfect half en half, which they do right in front of you at your table. The art is to fill the glass right up to the edge without spilling. When you take your first sip, it's also best to leave your glass on the table while drinking to avoid accidents.
Other bars that serve half en half
In the near vicinity of Bourse, Cirio is not the only café that offers this typical Brussels drink. Along with Le Falstaff it is one of the most beautiful art nouveau places, but if you'd rather go somewhere else, you'll find some alternatives below. All of them are situated in the city center.
- Bar Beton
- Café de l'Opéra on Place de la Monnaie
- Grand Café
- Le Coq
- Le Falstaff (also one of the most beautiful art nouveau restaurants of Brussels)
- Les Brasseurs, a bar with a sunny terrace which is also included in the Brussels Beer Tasting Tour
- Petit Choux, with a lovely terrace in the shade of the trees
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