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French Fridays: Drinking French

David Lebovitz’s latest book, Drinking French, was released on March 4th 2020. In calendar days it’s not that long ago but in #lifeinthetimeofcorona it’s like a million years ago. The world was a completely different place back when I tucked this book in my carry-on bag to take the long, long flight to Australia, so happy the book arrived before I left.

Now I’m so happy to have this book in my possession as it’s come in extremely handy as we navigate staying home and self-isolation. Not, I mean, that we’re drinking EVERY night but in an effort to add a little “special” into the everyday, we’ve made quite a few cocktails from the book already – some for those Zoom happy hours, some to share with neighbours (at a distance!). It’s been quite the journey around our well-stocked but needing to be cleaned out liquor cabinet – fortunately we have many of the ingredients required to make many of the drinks and if we don’t we use the #coronacupboardcookingclub mentality of using what we have on hand (within reason).

Before we delve into what we’ve enjoyed, let’s take a look at the book itself. It’s not just a book with drinks recipes, it looks at “the iconic cocktails, apéritifs and café traditions of France with 160 recipes”, divided into 5 chapters (Café Drinks, Apéritifs, Liqueurs and Infusions, Cocktails and Apéro Snacks) with helpful sections at the end featuring recipes for basic bar syrups, David’s favourite addresses in Paris for purchasing ingredients and other useful resources. But while it might look like this book is mostly recipes for drinks and cocktails, it’s actually so much more.

  • If you’re a drinks aficionado, you’ll love reading this book like a “go to” guide to every (obscure) French liquor you could possibly think of;
  • If you’re a(n armchair) traveller, you’ll love this book for all the tips and wisdom about café and bar life David shares;
  • If you don’t drink alcohol, there are plenty of drinks (and snacks) ideas in here for you too;
  • If you are someone who judges a book by its cover (hey, we all do from time to time!), this one will draw you in with its stunning cover and keep you turning pages with gorgeous photography (lots of “Paris life” images too) by Ed Anderson;
  • If you’re just someone interested in the French way of life, even if you don’t have any intention of making any drinks or snacks, you’ll be able to read this book like a guide book/novel.

Drinking French is equally at home in the kitchen, on a bar, on a coffee table or even on a bedside table: there is just so much for so many different kinds of readers to take away!

So, what have we made?

The day after I got back from Australia, Neil set up a “to go” bar on our front porch to serve the Tangerine Spritz…

Setup to Make David Lebovitz Tangerine Spritz on eatlivetravelwrite.com(we didn’t have anything super bitter so used Byrrh – sorry David but it was SUPER tasty!)

Neighbours alerted to the pop-up bar via text message came (alone) with their glasses and served themselves…

David Lebovitz's Tangerine Spritz to go on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnd some of us enjoyed this from the “other side” of the glass (in quarantine)…

David Lebovitz Tangerine Spritz from the inside on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe next recipe we tried was a nod to the region where our holiday rental home is located – Gascony (siiiiiigh. Not sure when we’ll get there again….).

Voilà Le Gascon…

from David Lebovitz's Drinking French on eatlivetravelwrite.com

Best enjoyed in a tux, whilst attending a Zoom cocktail party (on a Wednesday night!)…

Le Gascon cocktail at a Zoom cocktail party from David Lebovitz's Drinking French on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnother get together demanded a fancy beverage so we made Hemingway Daiquiris…

Making Hemingway Daiquiri from David Lebovitz's Drinking French on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnd our latest “pop up” cocktail to share with neighbours was the Grapefruit Twist…

Grapefruit Twist from David Lebovitz's Drinking French on eatlivetravelwrite.comSo yeah, we’re kind of working our way through the book and our liquor cabinet at the same time. Neil tends to buy liquid souvenirs – especially things we can’t get here in Canada so we have a fairly healthy amount of things that we need to use up. I think it’s safe to say that David’s book is going to be our self-isolation playbook!

And since I couldn’t NOT give you a recipe, I’m happy to share that David’s publisher has given me permission to share a recipe so I’ve chosen one I loved and that I think you can easily get the ingredients for – the gorgeous Tangerine Spritz…

Tangerind Spritz Grapefruit Twist from David Lebovitz's Drinking Frenchphoto by Ed Anderson on eatlivetravelwrite.com(image © 2020 Ed Anderson. Used with permission)

Yield: 1

David Lebovitz's Tangerine Spritz

Tangerind Spritz Grapefruit Twist from David Lebovitz's Drinking Frenchphoto by Ed Anderson on eatlivetravelwrite.com

David says: I wrote about the spritz on my blog several years before le Spritz took over the tables of seemingly every café in France, but I still can’t say that I saw it coming. I had taken a trip to Trieste, Italy, near Venice, to learn how to make espresso. In the evening, while doing my best to unwind after a day of drinking a few dozen shots of very strong coffee, I noticed that everyone was sipping from large goblets filled with orange liquid. In my mixed Italian, I asked for “one of those orange drinks, per favore,” and after my first taste, I was immediately taken with the spritz, too.I still drink them, although now I reach for a red French bitter, such as Dolin, to provide the bitterness. Dolin is less aggressive than some of the Italian red bitter apéritifs, whose intensity can mask any subtle botanical flavors. I’ve also become smitten with Bruto Americano, made by St. George Spirits in California, which is naturally colored and keeps the flavors of the roots and spices in the forefront.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces (60ml) freshly squeezed tangerine juice
  • 3⁄4 ounce (22ml) red bitter apéritif, such as Dolin, Bruto Americano, or Campari
  • About 2 ounces (60ml) prosecco or another dry sparkling wine
  • Half an orange wheel or a tangerine wedge, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Mix the tangerine juice and red bitter apéritif in a stemmed goblet.
  2. Fill the glass three-quarters full of ice, then pour in the prosecco.
  3. Stir briefly, then garnish with the orange wheel half.

Notes

Reprinted with permission from Drinking French: The Iconic Cocktails, Aperitifs, and Café Traditions of France, with 160 recipes by David Lebovitz © 2020. Photographs © 2020 by Ed Anderson. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

I love the idea of a “fancy” drink every now and then and it certainly makes an early evening feel more special in these times when we can’t go out. Drinking French is delicious, educational, entertaining and lovely to look at. All things we need more of in our lives right now. Thanks, David.

(If you’re not already following David on Instagram, he hosts a live “apéro hour” cocktail making session everyday at 6pm, Paris time. Highly worth a watch, even though 12pm might be slightly too early to start your happy hour LOL!)

Win a copy of Drinking French!

Are you subscribed to my newsletter? This month, one lucky subscriber will win a copy of Drinking French thanks to Penguin Random House. Sign up here! April edition drops in inboxes on April 18th 2020!

 

David Lebovitz Drinking French coverBuy Drinking French on Amazon  (this link should bring you to the Amazon store in your country) or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This post also contains affiliate links from The Book Depository. This means that if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price (at no extra cost to you). Thank you in advance!

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Disclosure: I received a copy of Drinking French from the publisher for review purposes. I was not asked to write about the book, nor am I being compensated for this post. All opinions 100% my own.

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In the French Kitchen with Kids cover on eatlivetravelwrite.com

 

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3 Responses to French Fridays: Drinking French

  1. David April 18, 2020 at 06:23 #

    Thanks Mardi. So glad you liked the book…and the drinks, of course, too!

    • Mardi Michels April 18, 2020 at 08:13 #

      You’re so welcome! Thanks for writing the book we didn’t know we would need so much! Cheers!

  2. Mr. Neil April 25, 2020 at 13:18 #

    Mardi’s summary said it all, but I would really stress: what I like most about this book is the historical context and stories. I remember years ago renting a place in Cassis, and seeing those faded “ghost signs” for Byrrh. We asked a local, who said it hadn’t been made for years. WELL NOW. You can imagine my glee at finding a bottle.

    This book covers all sorts of great stories about how some of those more obscure drinks came to be.

    And yes – David’s creating some adventurous fun clearing through the drinks cabinet.

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