My favorite cocktail books
It was 2020 and the pandemic was in full swing. No socializing, not much leaving the house or going anywhere really. Two things made lockdown fun for me. Learning about French cocktails from David Lebovitz and taking zoom cooking classes from a professional-style cooking school I discovered when I was in Rome, Grano & Farina (more on that in a future post.)
When the going gets tough .... hedonists double down on lifestyle. The only answer could be nurturing the senses with creative drinks, gourmet dinners for one, candles, music, flowers and continuously making my space more delightful.
Enter David Lebovitz, food writer and former pastry chef at Chez Panisse, sharing live Instagram videos of cocktails from his book, Drinking French. They were shot in his Paris kitchen a couple of times a week and sometimes his adorable partner Romain would pop up. He might interview a luminary from the liquor world like an expert on Amari or antique Chartreuse.
Every week a new cocktail and a new bottle: Suze, Byrhh, Fernet, Cap Course. The collection grew. I had to have the book, And then I had to have another book and pretty soon my bar library was looking like my liquor collection.
If you're nerdy like me, the Cocktail Codex is the book for you. It categorizes the main cocktail groups, along with variations, and recommends the best liquor for each. Beautifully photographed, the cocktails are approachable but elevated.
If you prefer low-ABV (alcohol by volume) drinks, Spritz has you covered. For the science geeks, there is Liquid Intelligence where you can learn to use a mini-centrifuge and exotic ingredients to take your cocktail game to the next level.
Aperitivo is filled with recipes for easy dishes and drinks to serve during Aperitivo, an Italian tradition of relaxing over a drink and a snack before dinner. I make their goat cheese, pink peppercorns, and olive oil spread all the time.
For the francophiles among you, I recommend Drinking French. The concept of Apero Hour changed my evening ritual forever. I craft a cocktail, often from Drinking French, plate a few Castelvetrano olives or Marcona almonds, and ease into my womb chair to savor reading time.
Drinking French feels like being in Paris, full of charming anecdotes, recipes for all things Apero, and luscious photography. If you don't watch out you'll find yourself on a plane with a list of Paris drinking spots in your pocket.
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