Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
Callipygos

"French" cocktails?

Recommended Posts

So, my SO is now beverage manager at a French bistro, and was grumbling the other day about how his predecesor left behind all these weird liqueurs that he doesn't know what to do with. (He may even end up turning all the rum over to the chef and saying, "So, if you ever want to feature baba au rhum on the menu...") In the effort to help my schmoopie, I tried thinking of "French" mixed drinks or cocktails he could use them all in -- and came up dry.

So this is more to satisfy my own curiousity than anything else. Are there classic recipes or mixed drinks that somehow say "This is French"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First tell us what liqueurs were left behind. :biggrin:


Edited by bleudauvergne (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let us know what you've got to play with, and we'll certainly be able to brainstorm ideas for you.

When you say weird liqueurs, how weird are you talking? Maybe just a menu of digestif liqueurs might get them moving... particularly with a little descriptive blurb that explains what they're in for if you've got some really left field stuff... and an investment in a few dozen little liqueur glasses to serve them in...

As far as drinks that scream "this is French!!!" , not many of them are cocktails... Vermouth over ice. Dubbonet. Lillet. Pastis and water. Kir. None of these are anywhere near the strength of an American cocktail, nor are they built using a spirit as the primary flavor component.

You might be barking up the wrong tree if authenticity is what you're really after and cocktails are what you're looking for.


Edited by cdh (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
First tell us what liqueurs were left behind.   :biggrin:

He only mentioned two or three, but I got the sense that there were far more -- he mentioned an apricot liqueur (which I can actually see as an apertif by itself), a watermelon liqueur, and "a lot of different kinds of rum which all suck". (The quality also was part of the "weird" description in some cases, I sensed; I got the sense he had been left with the brand equivalent of "Thunderbird" in some cases.)

But this is more to satisfy my own curiousity on a general level (he's probably come up with a number of ideas already for what to do with his own stock).


Edited by Callipygos (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like you're half way to something like the Fish House Punch... maybe a riff on that would work...

The Recipe

sub the apricot for the peach, toss in some rum, and mixing brandy or something of the ilk, and call it a Cocktail Maison Peche... or some such. Probably best whipped up in batches and pushed as a promotional aperitif some evening...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i don't get how rum is a french thing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i don't get how rum is a french thing?

France still owns a bunch of islands in the carribean where rum is made... some rums are, actually really products of France... just the Departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe, etc... which still count as French soil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apricot Mimosas, Watermelon Mimosas, almost anything sweet and fruity can have some sparkling wine tossed on it and make a tasty brunch beverage.

If you were stuck with a bottle of Cynar artichoke liqueur maybe not so much... :unsure:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm actually not soliciting things *for his use,* although I thank you all; he's probably only an hour away from devising his own solution (he's a WHIZ at coming up with his own drinks) and I wouldn't want to try anyway, lest somehow word get back to someone and I inadvertently get him into trouble or something. (Yes, I am very paranoid.)

This just ended up being more of an intellectual exercise for me -- you know, how some drinks just seem to say "tropics", some seem more evocative of an urbane cocktail bar, some are at home in frat houses, etc. (Kind of how "margarita" = "Mexican restaurant", but doesn't necessarily leap to mind when you think of the Algonquin Round Table.) I was trying to think if there was anything similarly thematic with French restaurants aside from wine, and was coming up empty, and it was just bothering me. That's all. :biggrin:


Edited by Callipygos (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i don't get how rum is a french thing?

France still owns a bunch of islands in the carribean where rum is made... some rums are, actually really products of France... just the Departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe, etc... which still count as French soil.

mmm....good point.

So do the french drink much rum then?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a link to something that may be helpful, but maybe not....

It is a post from my dearest queneau69 who bartended for quite a length of time in Paris. Scroll down a wee bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are actually lots of French cocktails, if you go back a bit to the Art Deco years. Unfortunately, that means securing long out-of-print French cocktail books, something not nearly as easy as it used to be.

Among the better drinks are the Vermouth Cassis, aka the "Pompier," which used to be quite popular and isn't half bad, although not something to spring on a bourbon drinker without fair warning:

In a highball glass, combine:

1/2 oz creme de cassis (=blackcurrant liqueur; this has gotta be among those "weird liqueurs")

3 oz French (=dry) vermouth

ice

Top off with chilled club soda and stir.

This is an excellent hot-weather drink, light and refreshing.

Another one is the Rose, which Beans was kind enough to post the other day; it was a very popular drink in Paris in the '20s, but has since been forgotten:

Stir well with cracked ice:

2 oz French vermouth (Noilly Prat)

1 oz kirschwasser (use something imported; it makes a big difference)

1 teaspoon raspberry syrup or (if you're in France) sirop de groseille

Strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a rose petal (okay, that's not how they used to make them, but it sure looks nice).

This is a very tasty drink, light and delicate but at the same time complex enough to give the tastebuds a little tickle. (5 Ninth, the new NY restaurant for whom I drew up the drinks list, will be serving these as soon as it's open--any day now!)

There are plenty of others, including a pretty good rum drink involving Martinique rum and Pineau des Charentes (another odd French tipple, made from unfermented wine and raw cognac which are aged together). In general, the French formulae aren't as hard-hitting as the things Anglo-Saxons tend to come up with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Another one is the Rose, which Beans was kind enough to post the other day; it was a very popular drink in Paris in the '20s, but has since been forgotten:

Stir well with cracked ice:

2 oz French vermouth (Noilly Prat)

1 oz kirschwasser (use something imported; it makes a big difference)

1 teaspoon raspberry syrup or (if you're in France) sirop de groseille

Strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a rose petal (okay, that's not how they used to make them, but it sure looks nice).

This is a very tasty drink, light and delicate but at the same time complex enough to give the tastebuds a little tickle. (5 Ninth, the new NY restaurant for whom I drew up the drinks list, will be serving these as soon as it's open--any day now!)

So is kirshwasser similar in flavor to Maraschino, or is it sweeter like Cherry Heering? Can you recommend a brand name I might be able to find in California?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is a French 75 a "french" drink? And is it originally made with cognac or gin? I've been drinking them with gin - but had one recently made with cognac that was very good. That bartender had to look it up, and when I just did, I found it made both ways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There are actually lots of French cocktails, if you go back a bit to the Art Deco years. Unfortunately, that means securing long out-of-print French cocktail books, something not nearly as easy as it used to be.

Hmmm... this leads to the classification issue brought about by Prohibition and expatriate bars. Was, say, Harry's New York Bar in Paris a French bar serving French cocktails, or an American bar serving American cocktails to Americans who came to Paris to drink them. I tend to lean toward the latter interpretation, as I'd bet most drinks claiming to have originated there, like the Sidecar, are not viewed by the French as products of native ingenuity or tastes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm... this leads to the classification issue brought about by Prohibition and expatriate bars.  Was, say, Harry's New York Bar in Paris a French bar serving French cocktails, or an American bar serving American cocktails to Americans who came to Paris to drink them. 

Very good point. As far as I can tell from poking around in various old French drink books and books on Paris nightlife (Bruce Reynolds' 1927 "Paris with the Lid Lifted" is a classic--a whole book devoted to teaching the American how to misbehave in Paris), the answer has to be a nice, fat "yes and no." Many of the Paris bartenders were American or had American experience: for example, both Harry MacElhone of Harry's Bar and Frank Meier of the Ritz Bar had worked behind the stick here in New York, MacElhone at the Plaza and Meier at the Hoffman House (a true temple of mixology that was torn down in 1915). Many of their drinks are American in conception--lots of Martini variations, etc. And I would agree that the divine Sidecar, although it uses French ingredients (cognac and Cointreau), is sufficiently close to two popular American drinks, the Brandy Crusta and the Brandy Daisy, to render its Francitude (is that a word? I hope not) suspect.

But the Vermouth Cassis is entirely French, and I have to consider the Rose to be so as well: it was invented, according to both MacElhone and Meier, by one "Johnny" Mitta, bartender at the Chatham Hotel (across the street from Harry's Bar), and it uses ingredients that are wholly French, in proportions--twice as much vermouth as booze--which are wholly un-American; unlike cognac, kirschwasser rarely turns up in pre-Prohibition American bar manuals (or post-Prohibition ones, for that matter). At a certain point, the American techniques became naturalized in Paris. There had been so-called "American Bars" there since the 1850s, and bartender's guides written in French by Frenchmen since the 1890s (Louis Fouquet, of Fouquet's, wrote the first one; it's terrible), so they had plenty of time to let the techniques and philosophy sink in. So yes, I think some of these drinks are truly French, and they make a nice change of pace.

As for kirschwasser: it's an eau de vie, so it's dry and clear; the brand I like to use is the Alsatian Trimbach, which is fairly cheap (under $30), well-distributed and quite well made.

The French 75 is rather an open question--with Cognac and no lemon juice or sugar, it's a French drink, although I don't think they called it that (officers used to drink it before going over the top in WWI). With gin, lemon juice and sugar (basically, a Tom Collins with champagne instead of soda water), it seems unlikely that it was originally French. Off the top of my head, I think it first shows up in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book, which is English. But the French cannon after which it was named wasn't used by the English in WWI and was used by the Americans, so I'd bet there's a Yank in the works somewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
He only mentioned two or three, but I got the sense that there were far more -- he mentioned an apricot liqueur (which I can actually see as an apertif by itself), a watermelon liqueur...

The French tend to mix these syrupy liqueurs with Champagne, Clairette, or a Cremant de Bourgogne, a little bit in the bottom of a coupe, and topped off with the sparkling wine, and call it a kir royale. You could call it a kir royale apricot, kir royale pastèque for the watermelon. He can also do this with white wine, and call it a kir.

I have also had "punch" made with Rum from the French Islands, sugar syrup, and fresh lemon or lime juice. I'm not sure if that's a special French thing or if it's just my French MIL who likes that. :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The French 75 is rather an open question--with Cognac and no lemon juice or sugar, it's a French drink, although I don't think they called it that (officers used to drink it before going over the top in WWI).

Although I wonder if it had something of a pedigree in England as well.

Patrick O'Brian has early nineteenth century naval officers drinking "Admiral's Flip" at a dance, which is described as a mixture of champagne and brandy. (We really need balmagowry to tell us whether this is historically authentic or just PO'B being whimsical.)


Edited by Stigand (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have also had "punch" made with Rum from the French Islands, sugar syrup, and fresh lemon or lime juice. I'm not sure if that's a special French thing or if it's just my French MIL who likes that. :biggrin:

Sounds like ti punch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have also had "punch" made with Rum from the French Islands, sugar syrup, and fresh lemon or lime juice.  I'm not sure if that's a special French thing or if it's just my French MIL who likes that.  :biggrin:

Sounds like ti punch.

Exactly that.

Edited to add a link to a French Cocktail website. click


Edited by bleudauvergne (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Patrick O'Brian has early nineteenth century naval officers drinking "Admiral's Flip" at a dance, which is described as a mixture of champagne and brandy. (We really need balmagowry to tell us whether this is historically authentic or just PO'B being whimsical.)

I wouldn't be surprised a bit if the Royal Navy took their champagne with a bit of a stiffener. Champagne and cognac was a pretty widespread combination in the 19th century; as a "Brick and Brace" or "Buck and Brace" it was a popular Gold-Rush drink: 49ers would walk into the nearest drink emporium, drop a bag of gold dust of the bar and call for drinks on the house, the more expensive the better--and what's more expensive than champagne and cognac? The B and B had an added refinement, though: the bartender would wipe the inside of the glass with a wedge of lemon (using a silver fork, of course), fill the glass with superfine sugar, and empty it out again. Then the cognac (a hefty 2 oz or so) and the chilled champagne.

Two of these and any street will be paved with gold.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The B and B had an added refinement, though: the bartender would wipe the inside of the glass with a wedge of lemon (using a silver fork, of course), fill the glass with superfine sugar, and empty it out again. Then the cognac (a hefty 2 oz or so) and the chilled champagne.

Two of these and any street will be paved with gold.

:biggrin:

So kind of like a classic champagne cocktail, just with lemon in place of bitters?

This reminds of a question I've always wanted to know the answer to. Where I'm from (the UK), a champagne cocktail is angostura, sugar, brandy & champagne. On moving to America, I was surprised to find that if I ordered a champagne cocktail in a bar I'd often get the same thing - but with no brandy. Is this a genuine US version, or was this just some kind of house quirk?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Where I'm from (the UK), a champagne cocktail is angostura, sugar, brandy & champagne. On moving to America, I was surprised to find that if I ordered a champagne cocktail in a bar I'd often get the same thing - but with no brandy. Is this a genuine US version, or was this just some kind of house quirk?

The cognac must be a British addition--due no doubt to the perception (which I share) that the drink was lacking a certain wattage.

The Champagne Cocktail in Jerry Thomas' 1862 How to Mix Drinks, the book which first codified the American art of mixology, is essentially as the one served today: bitters, sugar, lemon peel, champagne.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Where I'm from (the UK), a champagne cocktail is angostura, sugar, brandy & champagne. On moving to America, I was surprised to find that if I ordered a champagne cocktail in a bar I'd often get the same thing - but with no brandy. Is this a genuine US version, or was this just some kind of house quirk?

The cognac must be a British addition--due no doubt to the perception (which I share) that the drink was lacking a certain wattage.

The Champagne Cocktail in Jerry Thomas' 1862 How to Mix Drinks, the book which first codified the American art of mixology, is essentially as the one served today: bitters, sugar, lemon peel, champagne.

This reminds me of the first time I ever heard of, and ordered, a "French 75." It was champagne and cognac, went down way too easy, and made me sick as a dog the next day.

I was surprised when, many years later, I read recipes for the French 75 which contained no brandy, but gin instead. I've not tried that version and have also never since tried my original drink of champagne and cognac. Maybe after 20-some years, I could face it again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By DanM
      One of the surprises from our move to Switzerland is the availability of kosher charcuterie. Sausages of all types, confit, mousse, rietttes, etc... One of the recent finds is this block of smoked beef. It has a nice fat layer in the middle. Any thoughts on how to use it? Should I slice it thin and then fry?
       
      Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    • By boilsover
      Long story, but I have a friend with whom I share a lust for French patisserie in general and kouign aman in particular.  We have another friend, kind of a starry chef in France.  We'd like to surprise our Parisian friend by being at least marginally competent with the kouign the next time we meet up.
       
      I had always heard of a specialty rolling pin called a Tutove (I think it's the name of the manufacturer).  It's supposed to be the Secret Weapon of puff pastry.  The idea is that the pin has grooves/ridges that better place butter into the layers of dough.
       
      So I found one (a real one, made by Tutove) on Ebay at a good price, but I need any basic tips y'all have for using it.  Anyone here use one, or have a resource for how to roll with a Tutove?
       
      Many Thanks!
    • By DanM
      I was planning on buying  jar of duck confit at the market, but I had a dimwitted moment and grabbed the confit goose gizzards instead. What should I do with them? Suggestions would be appreciated.
       
      Thanks!
       
      Dan
    • By CanadianSportsman
      Greetings,

      I've cooked several recipes from Keller's "Bouchon" the last couple of weeks, and have loved them all! At the moment (as in right this minute) I'm making the boeuf Bourguignon, and am a little confused about the red wine reduction. After reducing the wine, herbs, and veg for nearly an hour now, I'm nowhere near the consistancy of a glaze that Keller specifies. In fact, it looks mostly like the veg is on the receiving end of most of it. Is this how the recipe is meant to be? Can anybody tell me what kind of yield is expected? Any help would be appreciated. Thank you, kindly. 
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×