Far From the Tree: Apple-Pear Cocktail

  The other day I was thinking of cocktails that were fall and winter-friendly. Calvados (apple brandy) of course is always in season, but I also had a bottle of spiced pear liqueur from St. George Spirits in California on hand that has a lovely pear flavor mingled with a bouquet of spices, that I’ve been meaning to incorporate into a cocktail. I had a…

 

The other day I was thinking of cocktails that were fall and winter-friendly. Calvados (apple brandy) of course is always in season, but I also had a bottle of spiced pear liqueur from St. George Spirits in California on hand that has a lovely pear flavor mingled with a bouquet of spices, that I’ve been meaning to incorporate into a cocktail.

I had a hunch that it would be well-paired with French apple brandy, and that hunch proved correct in this Far From the Tree cocktail, a nod to the expression that “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” as the apple brandy – and the sparkling apple cider – fell into my kitchen, which are quite far from any trees. But happily, they all made it into my glass.

(And I’m hoping that all made sense. I’ve been trying to translate some American expressions for my French partner, especially “They drank the Kool-Aid,” which I’ve decided just isn’t translatable.)

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Coup de Roulis cocktail

This rosy coup holds a drink from Cocktails de Paris, a book of cocktail recipes from Paris, published in 1929. (It’s available to download* for free here.) I was attracted to it because it called for Cherry Rocher, a French liqueur produced by a distillery that was founded in 1704 and is still making it today. Coup de roulis translates to “strong blow,” referring to…

This rosy coup holds a drink from Cocktails de Paris, a book of cocktail recipes from Paris, published in 1929. (It’s available to download* for free here.) I was attracted to it because it called for Cherry Rocher, a French liqueur produced by a distillery that was founded in 1704 and is still making it today. Coup de roulis translates to “strong blow,” referring to the strong sway or roll of a boat. My guess is that maybe it got its name because it has four different spirits in it? No matter, I needed a strong drink last week when my apartment sprung a fuite d’eau, causing a flood.

The Paris cocktail book is an excursion back in time, as was the leak, harkening back to other, um…issues I’ve had with my apartment. In the pages, there are words used, such as Angustura (with an alternative spelling that may be from days of yore) and ‘focking,’ a term I’d never heard of either, and when I searched Google for “cocktail focking,” let’s just say most of the search results were adult-only…and I don’t mean in the cocktail department.

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Strawberry Spritz

Recently I started reaching for my bottle of Vermouth Blanc more and more. I had opened it to make an El Presidente cocktail, but during an interview on my IG Live channel with Pierre-Olivier Rousseaux, owner of Dolin distillery in France, he remarked that their Chambéryzette apéritif, made in the French alps, could be made at home, anywhere, with fresh strawberries and white vermouth. So…

Recently I started reaching for my bottle of Vermouth Blanc more and more. I had opened it to make an El Presidente cocktail, but during an interview on my IG Live channel with Pierre-Olivier Rousseaux, owner of Dolin distillery in France, he remarked that their Chambéryzette apéritif, made in the French alps, could be made at home, anywhere, with fresh strawberries and white vermouth. So I took the plunge and made a batch myself.

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The Greenpoint Cocktail

A simple cocktail, riffing off the Brooklyn cocktail, as well as its other-borough cousins, the Bronx and the Manhattan, the Greenpoint boasts a double-dose of French inspiration and influences.
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A simple cocktail, riffing off the Brooklyn cocktail, as well as its other-borough cousins, the Bronx and the Manhattan, the Greenpoint boasts a double-dose of French inspiration and influences.

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El Presidente cocktail

Note: I’ll be making this cocktail today at 6pm CET (Noon ET, 9am PT) on my IG Live Apéro Hour on Instagram. To watch, head to my profile on my IG profile page at that time, and when the circle around my profile pic says “Live” – click on it to tune in. And on Tuesday, May 26th, my guest will be Pierre-Olivier Rousseaux, owner…

Note: I’ll be making this cocktail today at 6pm CET (Noon ET, 9am PT) on my IG Live Apéro Hour on Instagram. To watch, head to my profile on my IG profile page at that time, and when the circle around my profile pic says “Live” – click on it to tune in. And on Tuesday, May 26th, my guest will be Pierre-Olivier Rousseaux, owner of Dolin vermouth, who will explain how vermouth is made, how to use and store it, and answer your other questions. More info, as well as how to watch it in replay in my IGTV channel archives, is here.

People sometimes pick up vermouth blanc, called bianco vermouth in Italian, and don’t realize until the open the bottle that the vermouth is sweet, when they thought they were buying dry vermouth. Don’t worry if it happened to you; it happened to a friend one mine too, who happens to be a notable spirits writer. On the upside, you’ve now got one of the principal ingredients for one of my new favorite cocktails, the El Presidente.

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Lucien Gaudin Cocktail

Note: I’ll be making this cocktail today at 6pm CET (Noon ET, 9am PT) on my IG Live Apéro Hour on Instagram. To watch, head to my profile on my IG profile page at that time, and when the circle around my profile pic says “Live” – click on it to tune in. More info, as well as how to watch it in replay in…

Note: I’ll be making this cocktail today at 6pm CET (Noon ET, 9am PT) on my IG Live Apéro Hour on Instagram. To watch, head to my profile on my IG profile page at that time, and when the circle around my profile pic says “Live” – click on it to tune in. More info, as well as how to watch it in replay in my IGTV channel archives, is here.

The clever cocktail, seemingly another riff on the Negroni (like The Tunnel), is named after French fencing champion Lucien Gaudin, who won gold and silver medals in the Olympics during the 1920s. Other than that, I’ve never found any other information about it; who came up with it or why the cocktail is associated with a French fencer.

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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.

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What to Buy When Starting a French Bar at Home

Weeks before Drinking French came out, people were asking me what liquors and spirits to buy in anticipation of the book’s release. Skimming through the 160 recipes in the book, many of which are for cocktails and apéritifs, I offered up tips here and there, suggesting a few essential bottles that could be used for a number of recipes in the book. I also added…

Weeks before Drinking French came out, people were asking me what liquors and spirits to buy in anticipation of the book’s release. Skimming through the 160 recipes in the book, many of which are for cocktails and apéritifs, I offered up tips here and there, suggesting a few essential bottles that could be used for a number of recipes in the book. I also added a few extras (at the end of this post) to those suggestions, that aren’t vital to have, but are some of my favorites in case they wanted to branch out a little into some other French drinks, and spirits.

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Eeyore’s Requiem cocktail

[Brad Thomas Parsons will be my guest today on my IGTV Instagram Live at 6pm CET, Noon ET, 9am PT and I wanted to share the recipe here for viewers. Brad has written extensively about bitters and spirits, and we’ll be talking about the special world of French bitters. To feature them, he’ll be making this drink from his book, Amaro: The Spirited World of…

[Brad Thomas Parsons will be my guest today on my IGTV Instagram Live at 6pm CET, Noon ET, 9am PT and I wanted to share the recipe here for viewers. Brad has written extensively about bitters and spirits, and we’ll be talking about the special world of French bitters. To feature them, he’ll be making this drink from his book, Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas. His most recent book is Last Call, which chronicles closing time at his favorite bars across America. You can watch us by visiting my Instagram Profile at the time listed above. If you miss it, you can watch the replay in my Instagram Stories up to 24hrs afterward.]

Named after Eeyore, a character from Winnie the Pooh, like the grey donkey, which Toby Maloney, its creator, calls “the most bitter character in literature.” In spite of that moniker, this alluring cocktail has an appealing bitterness that I can’t resist. And not to mention the color; if you’re in the doldrums, this vivid Eeyore’s Requiem cocktail will definitely lure you out of it.

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The Marc Negroni

One of the happiest days I’ve spent in my life was the one when I landed at the train station in Beaune, hopped in a car with a stranger, who took me to a cemetery out in the middle of nowhere. I found myself facing a large copper contraption spewing steam in the air, surrounded by bins of what looked like the outcasts of an…

One of the happiest days I’ve spent in my life was the one when I landed at the train station in Beaune, hopped in a car with a stranger, who took me to a cemetery out in the middle of nowhere. I found myself facing a large copper contraption spewing steam in the air, surrounded by bins of what looked like the outcasts of an agricultural experiment gone wrong, and a guy behind it all, wearing a red knit beanie and a fleece vest, to ward away the cold.

I did an Instagram video Story about it here. But I remember the day vividly. That was Mat Sabbagh behind the still, owner of Alambic Bourguignon. I was in the region doing research in Dijon for Drinking French and while drinking a mustard-flavored cocktail at Monsieur Moutarde, a local bartender I was having a drink with, urged me to go to Beaune to see Mat at work.

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