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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Vieux Carre cocktail

This post was originally published in 2013, which I updated and revised. It’s part of an online “L’heure d’apéro” or Happy Hour that I’ve been doing on Instagram Live on my IGTV channel most evenings at 6pm Paris time (which currently is 1pm ET, 10am PT) where I’m making a favorite cocktail live in my kitchen and responding to reader’s comments while I mix and…

This post was originally published in 2013, which I updated and revised. It’s part of an online “L’heure d’apéro” or Happy Hour that I’ve been doing on Instagram Live on my IGTV channel most evenings at 6pm Paris time (which currently is 1pm ET, 10am PT) where I’m making a favorite cocktail live in my kitchen and responding to reader’s comments while I mix and shake. (The videos get archived on my Instagram page in my Stories, which are available to watch up to 24 hours afterward, and in my Feed, which are there indefinitely.

In the live videos I’m also talking about French spirits, a few of which are used in this cocktail, the Vieux Carré. I’ve brought this cocktail post up to the top here on the blog, and I’ll be bringing others up others, as well as sharing other types of recipes that I hope you’ll find helpful during this time when many of us are housebound. (Tonight, March 26th, I’ll be making the Jasmin Cocktail if you want to tune in. Thanks! – David

A Vieux Carré is supposed to have Peychaud’s bitters in it. It was at the tippy top of my shopping list when I wanted to make this cocktail. I had the rye whiskey in spades, as well as the other ingredients, but the bitters eluded me.

But I went to four liquor stores that specialize in cocktail liquors and spirits in Paris and three didn’t have it. And the fourth was inexplicably closed for some sort of fermeture exceptionnelle. There was no sign, no nothing, so I don’t know. I peered through the darkened windows to see if they had the bitters on any of the shelves but couldn’t get a glimpse of the bitters selection, so went home empty-handed.

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