Holiday Drinks

This year, it’s a sure bet that holiday gatherings will likely be more intimate, with perhaps more celebrating online rather than around a table. As you cozy up to the chimney…or computer, it’s nice to have a drink in hand either to take the chill off or to make things feel more festive. Unless you’re the lovely Ina Garten, who prefers to make drinks by…

This year, it’s a sure bet that holiday gatherings will likely be more intimate, with perhaps more celebrating online rather than around a table. As you cozy up to the chimney…or computer, it’s nice to have a drink in hand either to take the chill off or to make things feel more festive. Unless you’re the lovely Ina Garten, who prefers to make drinks by the pitcher, individual drinks are a nice way to celebrate more intimate gatherings and you can make just one to two, or scale ’em up to make four or six, if necessary. My hot chocolate recipes (below) can easily be made in advance – in fact, they’re better if they are – then rewarmed right before serving. Marshmallows and whipped cream are optional, but if I’m going to be honest, they’re encouraged.

Here are my favorite and most popular drink recipes on the blog that’ll warm you up, including two types of hot chocolate (there are several others in Drinking French, including a Salted Butter Caramel version), French mulled wine, an apple-based cocktail, and a few libations with cranberries. There’s also a brown-buttery Old Fashioned, a pink Cosmo to brighten things up, a creative Kir, and Jeff Morgenthaler’s amazing eggnog. So no matter where you are, whether you’re at home with friends and family or able to gather out and about, here are some drinks I hope will help make this holiday season more enjoyable…

Vin Chaud

A winter classic in many countries, when they’re open (they’re closed at the moment), cafés in Paris will have the words ‘Vin chaud’ scribbled on a blackboard either inside or out, beckoning people to come in from the cold to have a glass. Patrons are usually huddled around terrace tables or standing at the bar, sipping glasses of warm spiced wine, but this year, mulled wine maison will be in fashion. My version of vin chaud is spiced with cardamom, star anise, cloves, and fresh ginger. And it’s even better if you tip a bit of brandy in it!

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Basics For Setting Up a Home Bar

You don’t need much, or any, fancy equipment or tools to make any of the cocktails in my book Drinking French, or any other drinks and cocktails. Below I’ve also listed what can easily fill in if you don’t have a proper cocktail shaker or mixing glass, using items you probably already have at home, although I’ll admit that having a few “tools of the…

You don’t need much, or any, fancy equipment or tools to make any of the cocktails in my book Drinking French, or any other drinks and cocktails. Below I’ve also listed what can easily fill in if you don’t have a proper cocktail shaker or mixing glass, using items you probably already have at home, although I’ll admit that having a few “tools of the trade” makes mixing and shaking up drinks easier, and more fun. So I’ve compiled a basic list of bar and cocktail tools that I own, in case you are interested in stocking your own home bar.

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Drinking French is Out!

I’m excited to announce that Drinking French: The iconic cocktails, apéritifs, and café traditions in France, with 160 recipes is out! My latest book features recipes for the iconic beverages of France, from café specialties hot chocolate, tisanes and infusions, and chilled chocolate frappés, to classic French apéritifs, recipes to make liqueurs, crèmes, wines, punches and cordials at home, as well as French-themed cocktails from…

Drinking French

I’m excited to announce that Drinking French: The iconic cocktails, apéritifs, and café traditions in France, with 160 recipes is out!

My latest book features recipes for the iconic beverages of France, from café specialties hot chocolate, tisanes and infusions, and chilled chocolate frappés, to classic French apéritifs, recipes to make liqueurs, crèmes, wines, punches and cordials at home, as well as French-themed cocktails from my favorite bars in Paris. To make sure you and your guests are properly fed, there’s a whole chapter of Snacks for apéro hour, such as a Terrine facile (an easy-to-make, meaty terrine), savory Cornmeal-Bacon Madeleines, bite-size Mushroom-Roquefort Tartlets, a recipe for Duck Rillettes as well as another for Chicken Rillettes (spread), one being quite rich, and the other for those who want to eat a little lighter. Or those who can’t get duck. (Writing the book, I thought of everything…and everyone.) And there’s a Kale Crespèu, a specialty of Provence which is perfect for summer with glasses of chilled rosé.

Drinking French starts out as a typical French morning does; at a café with a small shot of coffee or a more leisurely wake-up at home with a steaming bowl of Café au lait. Later in the day, people enjoy other café favorites, such as Citron pressé, Lemonade, Fresh Mint Tea, and if it’s the summer, to beat the heat, nothing beats a chilled Chocolate Frappé. For those needing a little more of a boost, there’s a Coffee Frappé, as well as one that uses one of the most popular liqueurs in France (which, interestingly, isn’t French), in case you want something cool and spirited. But there are dozens of recipes that don’t have any alcohol, making Drinking French enjoyable to all.

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