Paris Cocktails Sips Us into the New Year

Cheers to 2018!

Happy New Year! Alright.  We can state the obvious.  It’s now almost February, so I’m very late to the party here.  I hope everyone’s start to 2018 has been wonderful so far.  Anyone have any interesting resolutions?  Feel free to mention them in the comments below.  Last year, I had a list of all the things I was going to accomplish in 2017.  Did I manage even one item on that list?  Nope.  I’m not sweating it.  Just because I didn’t attain those particular goals doesn’t mean 2017 was a bust.  In fact, I dare say it was quite the opposite.  Regardless, all I wanted to do was break out my book, Paris Cocktails by Doni Belau.  I was excited to try a few drinks with my husband for our own little New Years Eve.  Just as I was about to grab our cocktail shaker, poor Petit Garçon caught a minor plague.  Since he needed some extra snuggles and TLC, we postponed our tasting.  Parenthood, am I right?

So here we are nearing February, and I’ve FINALLY had a chance to sit and sip some of the finest cocktails I have ever tasted, and they were definitely worth the wait.

Paris Cocktails Doni Belau Book

Refined Cocktails for Every Occasion

Paris Cocktails is an informative collection of the most elegant recipes native to or inspired by Paris.  Author Doni Belau obviously possesses a deep respect for her subject through this compilation of gorgeous photography, related historic anecdotes, and notable quotes.  She even organizes chapters by occasion- whether you’re looking to replicate that café feeling or to plan your holiday get together, Belau includes a generous lineup of impressive cocktails. She even offers advice on party themes. So fun!

Ingredient Roundup

Forget that chemical-laden sweet and sour mix you might find at the grocery store.  These cocktails are far superior, each calling for few simple, yet sophisticated ingredients.  Admittedly, I was initially intimidated trying to recreate Belau’s cocktails. Mixology is not my expertise, and her cocktail list seemed so advanced and out of my league.  I wasn’t sure any of my local liquor stores would carry any of her ingredients.  French whiskey? That exists?  It does!  Many of the recipes called for similar ingredients, and alternative suggestions, and I was also ecstatic to learn that all four of my test cocktails were easy to mix.  Before we get into the cocktails, here’s what I needed for liquor:

Paris Cocktails Doni Belau Liquor

Champagne:  I used Pommery since it’s brut and one of my favorites.

Lillet: A wine-based aperitif.

Cognac:  A variety of Brandy.

Brenne Single Malt Whiskey:  A complex sweet, rich, and fruity whiskey with hints of spice.

Amaro: A bittersweet Italian herbal liquor.

Anise: A liquor with the strong taste of Anise, or licorice.

While this list might seem obscure, the ingredients were all easily available at my local liquor store.

I’ll Drink to That

Choosing only four drinks was difficult, but I wanted to try recipes across the spectrum- basic, intricate, sweet, savory, and whatever sounded like something I would never try.    Why didn’t I just make more?  Well, I did choose four, and I was mostly tasting solo.  I didn’t want get too zippy and end-up singing Bette Midler songs to my two cats while donning a lampshade.

Regardless, here’s what I tried:

Paris Cocktails Doni Belau Collage
Left (Top to Bottom): Corpse Reviver No. 2, Madame Rouge, French 75; Right: Lady B

French 75: Cognac, Champagne, Lemon.  This refreshing spin on the classic drink is a cocktail hour must. It’s the perfect drink for those who want something delicious, but not too strong or adventurous.  The dominance of the champagne and lemon make this an invigorating beverage, but the background notes of the cognac afford body and complexity.

Lady B: Brenne Whiskey, Lillet, tonic water.  The Lillet and already sweetened whiskey bring an unexpected sweetness to this drink.  I found that the subdued qualities of the Lillet cut the edge from the whiskey, so the drink is smooth but full of body.  Whiskey lovers will enjoy this one!

Madame Rouge: Amaro, Champagne. This drink is a great example of how contrasting flavors- the Amaro’s herbal and the champagne’s sweet qualities- balance to create one heck of an interesting beverage. Also, I love drinking from a champagne flute.  It just feels fancy.

Corpse Reviver No. 2: Anise, Champagne, Lemon.  This drink is sweet with a bite of the dark side.  The lemon and bubbly make it crisp and refreshing, while the dominant flavoring of the anise adds to the complexity.  I added an ice ball, which is both a beautiful touch and aid in neutralizing the actual strength of all the mixers.  It’s called a ‘Corpse Reviver’ for a reason!

And The Winner Is…

The Corpse Reviver No. 2!  I have never been an anise fan, but lately, I’m finding that the liquor adds such depth to its other mixer companions.  This cocktail is both a delicious and great conversation piece.

Paris Cocktails Corpse Reviver No. 2

Regardless, if you love a good cocktail, then Paris Cocktails is the perfect collection to try.

Paris Cocktails Lady B
The Lady B

À la prochaine!