Book review: David Lebovitz’s Drinking French

Drinking French: The Iconic Cocktails, Apéritifs, and Café Traditions of France, with 160 RecipesDrinking French: The Iconic Cocktails, Apéritifs, and Café Traditions of France, with 160 Recipes by David Lebovitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m a huge fan of Lebovitz’s blog and website, and his regular newsletter, having discovered them around the time that I was lucky enough to live in Paris for a few months of time, in two consecutive years. He was an indispensible source of advice for restaurants, bars, food stores and recipes (which I made in Australia, as we never had very big kitchens in our AirBNBs or rental apartments). Moreso, he imbues a sense of adventure, discovery and delight for what to discover in French eating and drinking.

As I’ve been making more cocktails lately, I ordered this book as soon as he announced it, and it arrived, fortuitously, not long before the COVID-19 lockdown. So, I’ve already been making various cocktails and drinks, including some homemade crème de cacao, and mixing up drinks with Lillet and St Germain Elderflower Liqueur. I found a bottle of Dubonnet, so that’s the next ingredient on my list.

But it’s far more than a recipe book. His writing style is so engaging, and each recipe is an opportunity to let us know something new about French drinking and cuisine, or the culture. It’s all very romantic, and feels much more real (and authentic) than the whole genre of books about ‘Living in Paris for a Year’ or ‘I fell in love with a Frenchman’. You really feel like you want to hang out and have a drink with him, and I felt terribly envy that I’m not in his home when he’s serving up these drinks … and snacks, as there’s a lovely selection of recipes of food to match up with the drinks.

Highly recommended for anyone who loves Paris and France and anyone who likes a good cocktail. He’s also stirring up cocktails online on Instagram (in lockdown and unable to do a book tour): I’ll have to check it out.

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