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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