Rob Roy

The Rob Roy cocktail was said to be invented at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City, named after a Scottish outlaw in the 1700s, who later became a folk hero. The drink named for him is the drier cousin to the Manhattan, using blended Scotch whisky in place of the rye or bourbon. Unlike single-malt scotch, blended scotch is made from barley as…

The Rob Roy cocktail was said to be invented at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City, named after a Scottish outlaw in the 1700s, who later became a folk hero. The drink named for him is the drier cousin to the Manhattan, using blended Scotch whisky in place of the rye or bourbon. Unlike single-malt scotch, blended scotch is made from barley as well as other grains and is usually only lightly peated, so it has less of the smoky flavors that are a feature of many single-malt scotch whiskies.

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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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Byrrh Cassis Aperitif

We spent part of our summer vacation in the Languedoc-Roussillon. The region is famous for its wines, especially the reds and rosé (which we sampled – generously…), while it was once the most popular apéritif in the world, selling over 30 million bottles annually, Byrrh is also made in the region but nowadays less well-known. In fact, if you order a Byrrh in France, more…

We spent part of our summer vacation in the Languedoc-Roussillon. The region is famous for its wines, especially the reds and rosé (which we sampled – generously…), while it was once the most popular apéritif in the world, selling over 30 million bottles annually, Byrrh is also made in the region but nowadays less well-known. In fact, if you order a Byrrh in France, more often than not, you might be brought a glass of bière, unless your ear for French is pretty good as it’s pronunciation is close to ‘beer.’ (I once had to point it out on the menu at a wine bar in Paris, as the waiter had no idea what I was talking about.) There’s no beer in Byrrh, but there’s plenty of flavor in this iconic French apéritif.

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Amer Picon

When you write a book, it goes through several editing phases. The first is the developmental edit, which happens when you’re sort of on your way there, and your editor wants to see it. (And make sure you haven’t been sitting around watching Netflix all day.) Once that is read, you get pages of suggestions for what you should change, what should be kept, what…

When you write a book, it goes through several editing phases. The first is the developmental edit, which happens when you’re sort of on your way there, and your editor wants to see it. (And make sure you haven’t been sitting around watching Netflix all day.) Once that is read, you get pages of suggestions for what you should change, what should be kept, what needs to be modified, and perhaps suggestions on how to do those things. Then, you go back to work.

The next few steps are more edits, including a pass for grammar and spelling, and someone to check to make sure you said when there is “1 teaspoon of lemon juice” in the ingredient list, that it’s sure to be in the instructions for making the cake or cocktail. When you’re looking at the same words for two years, an errant keystroke or a reviewing a three-hundred-plus-page document filled with digital notes, comments, and directions laid over the text, can have unintended consequences.

Drinking French

Every step of the way, every editor (the main editor…as well as the copy editor, production editor, and proofreader) questioned the same thing in Drinking French: It was about Amer Picon. What would an amer be called in English? Is it Amer Picon or Picon Amer? (Or is that moot, since the most recent bottles now are labeled Picon Bière?). But most of all, the editors were inquiring why was I including a liquor in the book that had an ingredient that wasn’t available in the United States. What was I thinking?

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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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Bee’s Knees Cocktail

Note: Miko Abouaf and Ian Spink of the micro-distillery Audemus Spirits in France will be my guests today on Instagram Live Apéro Hour. They’ll be joining me live from their distillery in the Cognac region to show us how they distills their fabulous Pink Pepper gin, as well as how to mix up a Bee’s Knees Cocktail with it, and their fig leaf-based Covert liqueur….

Note: Miko Abouaf and Ian Spink of the micro-distillery Audemus Spirits in France will be my guests today on Instagram Live Apéro Hour. They’ll be joining me live from their distillery in the Cognac region to show us how they distills their fabulous Pink Pepper gin, as well as how to mix up a Bee’s Knees Cocktail with it, and their fig leaf-based Covert liqueur. Join us today at 6pm CET (Noon ET, 9am PT) 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 in replay later if you miss it, is here.

When doing research for Drinking French, I was on the prowl to find a substitute to Amer Picon, the classic apéritif from France that’s not available in the U.S. While I found some alternatives that were available in America (which I listed in the book) my very favorite was Sepia Amer, made by Audemus Spirits in France. (h/t to Josh of Paris Wine Company for the intro.)

As someone who ran out of organic crunchy peanut butter recently, and can’t watch Schitt’s Creek, I share your pain at not being about to get something you want where you live. But if you come to France, or live in a country that does carry their spirits, such as France, the United Kingdom, Australia, and others, I recommend you pick up a bottle or two.

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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.

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The White Lady cocktail

Note: Join me and Romain today on my IG Apéro Hour at 6pm CET, Noon ET, and 9am PT while I mix up this White Lady cocktail and Romain prepares an appetizer to go with it. To watch, go to my Instagram profile at that time and click on my profile picture when there is a red circle around it, which means we are live….

Note: Join me and Romain today on my IG Apéro Hour at 6pm CET, Noon ET, and 9am PT while I mix up this White Lady cocktail and Romain prepares an appetizer to go with it. To watch, go to my Instagram profile at that time and click on my profile picture when there is a red circle around it, which means we are live. You can also watch us in replay on my IGTV channel. More information about how to tune in, and watch live, as well as in replay, here.

It’s no secret that Romain has fallen in love with the Rosemary Gimlet. He’s featured in Drinking French sipping the drink. But I’ve been trying to shake things up, so to speak, and get him to branch out to similar cocktails. And the White Lady is a good one, especially if rosemary isn’t available. But it’s an equally bracing gin and citrus cocktail, that’s easy to make, and drink.

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