Kir Normand

Almost everyone knows what a Kir Royal is; a flute of crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) and Champagne or sparkling wine.
But in Normandy and Brittany, the drink takes a decidedly regional turn, and becomes a Kir Normandy if made with Calvados (ap…

Almost everyone knows what a Kir Royal is; a flute of crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) and Champagne or sparkling wine.

But in Normandy and Brittany, the drink takes a decidedly regional turn, and becomes a Kir Normandy if made with Calvados (apple brandy), or Kir Breton, if made with Breton apple brandy, known as Lambig.

Continue Reading Kir Normand...

Drinking French Bar Box

I was delighted that so many people were interested in setting up a French bar in advance of the publication of Drinking French and have been asked what liquors and spirits to get. So I’ve teamed up with Slope Cellars wine and spirits shop in New York City to release a Drinking French Bar Box. The Drinking French Bar Box includes a bottle of Old…

I was delighted that so many people were interested in setting up a French bar in advance of the publication of Drinking French and have been asked what liquors and spirits to get. So I’ve teamed up with Slope Cellars wine and spirits shop in New York City to release a Drinking French Bar Box.

The Drinking French Bar Box includes a bottle of Old Forester Bottled in Bond Rye, Forthave Red Apéritif Bitters (Aperitivo), Citadelle gin, and a demi-bottle of Dolin sweet vermouth, as well as a copy of Drinking French. With those bottles, you’ll be able to make several drinks in the book, including my favorite cocktail, the Boulevardier and the Americano, a low ABV apéritif that’s perfect for easy-going spring and summer sipping. You may want to augment your Bar Box with any of the spirits listed here to increase the number of drinks you can make. (Some specific suggestions would be Salers, Dolin dry vermouth, Byrrh Grand Quinquina, calvados, Lillet, and/or Chartreuse. The shop also carries a very good selection of French wines.)

The Old Forester bottled in bond rye is a revival of a historic recipe and is higher proof than standard rye whiskey, so it shines more brightly when mixed in a cocktail. Citadelle gin was the first gin produced in France and is family-owned, flavored with juniper collected from gardens around the family home. Forthave Spirits is a micro-distillery in New York City that produces an especially excellent apertivo (red bitter apéritif, similar to Campari) with a strong botanical profile. It’s great in a cocktail, or on its own with a splash of sparkling water and a twist. Dolin French vermouth is another family-owned distillery, operating since the 1820s in the French alps, and made with local herbs, flowers, and roots.

Continue Reading Drinking French Bar Box...

Making French Butter and Camembert de Normandie at Isigny Ste-Mere

I never miss an opportunity to “go to the source,” so to speak. And in France, it’s sometimes just a train ride away. Barely an hour by high-speed train from Paris is Normandy, and it’s bucolic countryside, where even the cows have their own appellation; La vache Normande. Not only are the cows beautiful, with their wide black and mahogany speckles, and rings around their…

I never miss an opportunity to “go to the source,” so to speak. And in France, it’s sometimes just a train ride away. Barely an hour by high-speed train from Paris is Normandy, and it’s bucolic countryside, where even the cows have their own appellation; La vache Normande. Not only are the cows beautiful, with their wide black and mahogany speckles, and rings around their eyes, but their milk is especially high in fat and protein, which makes the butter from Normandy, and Normandy cheeses, so spectacular.

Continue Reading Making French Butter and Camembert de Normandie at Isigny Ste-Mere...

Apple Blackberry Slab Pie

Summer has just started and temperatures have been hovering close to 100ºF (37ºC). It’s been hard to stay cool but I’ve learned that temperatures are lower first thing in the morning, so I wake up earlier and get some tasks out of the way before the full blast of heat begins to slowly roast me, and my kitchen. The other thing that’s hitting us at…

Summer has just started and temperatures have been hovering close to 100ºF (37ºC). It’s been hard to stay cool but I’ve learned that temperatures are lower first thing in the morning, so I wake up earlier and get some tasks out of the way before the full blast of heat begins to slowly roast me, and my kitchen.

The other thing that’s hitting us at full blast is the deluge of summer fruits. There are so many nectarines, peaches, cherries, and strawberries at the market that I don’t know what to do with them all. And melons and plums are just around the corner, too. So it was odd that I found myself with a windfall of apples.

Continue Reading Apple Blackberry Slab Pie...