"You try to drink the soup."
Translation:Tu essaies de boire la soupe.
"to" is kind of a preposition as well, isn't it, so you can consider that "try to drink" = "essaies de boire".
"essayer de + infinitive" simply mirrors "try to + verb".
there is a group of verbs that behave like English modals (can do, may do...) but "essayer de" is not one of them: pouvoir faire, devoir faire, savoir faire, sembler faire, aimer faire, préférer faire, vouloir faire...
To my eye this is a very weak part of French. There is no general rule and saying "à verb" when verbs already mean "to xxx" is repetitive and to say "de verb" when the verb is "to xxx" means the final meaning is "of/from to verb" and that's nonsense.
It's just an inconsistent mess.
Letting this marinade a few hours the best way I can think of to make sense of the "to" which is stuck in the middle of this sentence is this:
essayer = "to try" or "to try to"
boire = "to drink"
Sometimes the leading "to" is ignored. "Je bois" = "I drink" (no "to" in there).
So, perhaps the sentence "Tu essaies de boire la soupe" means "You try" place-holder "de" (with no meaning except to say another verb phrase is coming up) "to drink some soup".
Why the French need the "de" in the middle of so many things is as inexplicable to me as why they use "du" or "de la" or "des" for "some" when we Americans get along without it quite easily by making the assumption that when "we drink milk" we aren't ever going to drink ALL the milk in the world and so it is always "we drink some milk" by default.