happy hour in Paris…

Paris Cocktails

Well, for me any hour in Paris is “happy hour,” but the idea of channeling some jazz age glamour in the City of Light is an enticing proposition. Doni Belau who is the force behind the fabulous website Girls Guide To Paris has put together a compendium of some of the best craft cocktail bars in Paris as well as Paris-inspired cocktail recipes. Paris Cocktails is a beautiful glossy book, filled with images and reviews of Paris’ cocktail bars, recipes, notes about celebrations and traditions in France, and ideas for entertaining. It’s an elegant book that would make a lovely gift.

About three weeks ago we had the pleasure of attending a book signing and cocktail tasting at one of LA’s favorite French-themed restaurants, “The Little Door” in West Hollywood. The event was held out on the charming patio, and once everyone had arrived, we got right to tasting. The first up was a light and refreshing mix called “Bisous du Soleil” (Kisses of the Sun)…

Bisous du Soleil vodka cocktail

Next up was one that I can’t remember the name of at the moment, but it was made with a pepper-infused gin.

cocktails and canapes

It was the first time I’d had gin since a Very Bad Morning After when I was 21. And it was delicious! The canapés were very, very tasty too.

The last drink, “The Last Call” was my favorite, probably because it was whiskey based. In fact, there are only two ingredients, whiskey and hibiscus liqueur…

Bastille whiskey

The whiskey is French, and the liqueur from Brooklyn. The drink was served with a hibiscus flower floating in it…

Last Call cocktail with hibiscus liqueur

The hibiscus liqueur gave it a slightly spicy edge, and it probably would make a nice after-dinner digestif. As you can see, the tastings were small. If I’d had three full-sized cocktails le Monsieur would have had to take me out in a wheelbarrow!

We each received a copy of Paris Cocktails, which Doni signed. It was great to meet her too; we’ve exchanged emails in the past and had a nice chat about our favorite Paris experiences.

Le Monsieur kindly offered to donate his copy of the book for a blog giveaway, so without further ado, let’s get this party started!

To enter to win a signed copy of “Paris Cocktails” use the Rafflecopter widget below and…

  • Leave a comment here with your favorite cocktail (alcoholic or non-).

For optional additional entries:

C’est tout! Entries will be open for one week; I’ll draw at random and announce a winner on Tuesday February 23.
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71 Comments

  1. February 12, 2016 / 3:26 am

    I laughed because I have not had gin since the last time in my 20s which was also not good! The recipes sound very good…and like you, perhaps time to give it another try.

  2. Karen
    February 12, 2016 / 4:11 am

    Anything with St. Germains!
    Karen

  3. Ramona
    February 12, 2016 / 4:22 am

    Buffalo Trace Bourbon Manhattan, very cold. Sounds like the weekend to me

  4. Michelle
    February 12, 2016 / 4:22 am

    Hendricks gin is tasty with floating cucumbers.

  5. Katherine
    February 12, 2016 / 4:24 am

    Nothing beats a good old fashioned side car with extra lemon!

  6. Carla
    February 12, 2016 / 4:28 am

    A lovely martini made with pear liqueur…I’m sure it had a creative name, but that escapes me! I recall my Great Aunt and Godmother drinking Manhattens, her signature cocktail, many years ago, and I thought she was the most sophisticated thing ever and I couldn’t wait to be an adult and order a cocktail. When I was (almost) of age, I ordered a Manhatten and thought it was the worst thing I’d ever tasted. Auntie was still very well traveled and sophisticated…but that was the last Manhatten I ever ordered!

  7. Susan
    February 12, 2016 / 4:31 am

    I love cocktails made with ginger

  8. February 12, 2016 / 4:40 am

    I am loving an ice wine based cocktail called Cotton a Candy right now!

  9. Sheryl Anne
    February 12, 2016 / 4:44 am

    Try making mint tea (steep a bunch of fresh mint in boiling water and allow to cool for a concentrate) and adding lemonade, then pour over ice, for a refreshing “meadow tea” on a hot summer day! Very refreshing!

  10. sandypatti
    February 12, 2016 / 4:46 am

    Gin and I also have a sordid past. What is it about that beverage? These cocktails look delightful, thanks for sharing. xo

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

    • Susan
      February 12, 2016 / 5:07 am

      Nothing beats a Gin and Tonic in summer – Sapphire is my favourite. Gin has had a pretty sketchy history as it was easy to make at home. Consequently, it got the nick name ‘mother’s ruin’.

  11. February 12, 2016 / 4:47 am

    My favorite cocktails–or rather aperitifs, have always been spent in my aunt’s Paris apartment. We would always send my better half out to Rue Buci for our evening baguette while we enjoyed a Porto together. Upon his return, we would have the Kir Royal’s. She passed away in October, but I want to thank you for bringing back a great, great memory for me. Have a read about her: http://atypical60.com/2015/10/27/paris-without-daniele-part-un/

  12. Stormy Smith
    February 12, 2016 / 5:02 am

    A lovely French 75 at Cent Dix in Ithaca, NY
    Stormy

  13. February 12, 2016 / 5:12 am

    A gin and tonic. Especially in the summer. So refreshing.

  14. Ellen
    February 12, 2016 / 5:12 am

    For summer: a glassic gin and tonic and a lemon slice along with the lime (there are some very classy new tonics and craft made gins out there that elevate this to a whole new level. In the winter, a classic old fashioned made with bourbon, hold the cherry. None of the modern from-frou $20 cocktails for me; I like the classics

  15. Melodie
    February 12, 2016 / 5:17 am

    My favorite is the rye old fashioned, or a non-alcoholic Cranberry spritzer…your tasting sounds lovely!

  16. February 12, 2016 / 5:24 am

    I love freezing fresh raspberries individually in tiny ice cubes. Brunch served. Everyone has a Veuve Cliquot mimosa with raspberries!

  17. Paula
    February 12, 2016 / 5:29 am

    What a wonderful book ! I love a good Bloody Mary in the company of my belle Mere <3

  18. Nadya
    February 12, 2016 / 6:17 am

    I love a Boulevardier – equal parts rye, sweet vermouth and Campari.

  19. Suz
    February 12, 2016 / 6:45 am

    We are off to Mexico next week for some r and r. My biggest decision of those days will be mojito or marguerita (spelling?), two of my favourite hot weather drinks! I also enjoy a lemon drop martini once in a while. I am definitely a lemon-lime gal.
    Thank you for the giveaway. Suz

  20. February 12, 2016 / 6:46 am

    A Chelsea Side Car…or a Collins with a dash of Angostouras!
    Jane

  21. Chris
    February 12, 2016 / 6:46 am

    Yum – my favourite – aperol and prosecco – not sure what’s that’s called except delicious!

  22. Kathryn
    February 12, 2016 / 6:49 am

    Today is a balmy Canadian -15C outside so, as you can imagine, a cocktail now and again is dearly appreciated ; ) The current favourite is a Greyhound made with Hendricks gin, the juice of a whole grapefruit served in a tall glass with lots of ice. Refreshing and allows one to laugh in the face of more snow on the way.

  23. February 12, 2016 / 6:55 am

    My favorite is a good whiskey sour. I have always liked them. But I usually drink prosecco. I always serve that at home. It is so festive and easy.

  24. Jodi
    February 12, 2016 / 6:58 am

    Gin and tonic is my drink of choice. My millennial son has mixed up a number of delicious drinks for us…sadly I cannot remember their names….must get with the program!

  25. February 12, 2016 / 7:08 am

    Much to be said for a lovely, very dry Gin Martini, but I think my favourite cocktail might be a Negroni (so much is association, right? The plaza in Turin, the afternoon sunshine…). Although I did get to love a pre-prandial Pernod, ice and water on the side, when we spent time with friends in the Auvergne years ago. Similarly, I can quickly get myself back into a Kir habit without much effort (I keep a bottle of Cassis on hand for any appropriate bottle of white wine).
    Sadly, my tolerance for same has much diminished with the years, and the servings you show above look perfect. What a fun event this looks to have been! Smart publicist to invite you — a great ambassador.

  26. JillH
    February 12, 2016 / 7:21 am

    JillH
    One of my favorites, especially during the summer, is gin and bitter lemon made with Botanist Gin, Fevertree Bitter Lemon and a twist of lime. It harkens back to the day when, just out of college, a friend was celebrating moving into her first apartment in NYC and we sat on her balcony in the heat of July, G & BL’s in hand.

  27. Rebecca
    February 12, 2016 / 7:28 am

    Rocky Road at the Savoy

  28. Suzan
    February 12, 2016 / 7:30 am

    My favorite is a French 75, an ounce of gin, 1/2 ounce lemon juice (shaken with ice in a martini shaker), then topped with 2 ounces champagne, and garnished with a lemon twist!

  29. Chérie Z
    February 12, 2016 / 7:57 am

    Kir Royale, definitely! Two ingredients: champagne and creme de cassis (black currant liqueur)!

  30. Debra
    February 12, 2016 / 8:11 am

    Ah, there was a signing near me, wish I had gone!

    My cocktail right now is a bourbon and soda with a twist; Meyer lemon, if I can get it.

    Thank you for doing this!

  31. Mary
    February 12, 2016 / 8:12 am

    Gin and tonic was love at first sip for me. I share this love with a dear friend who lives a thousand miles away, so whenever we are together, this is it! In her absence, I enjoy Bushmills. Mary

  32. February 12, 2016 / 8:12 am

    I still enjoy a good Cosmo (could not find a good one in France, however) or glass of Lillet blanc. I’m curious about the hibiscous liqueur.

  33. February 12, 2016 / 8:13 am

    Margarita for me. Nice of your husband to share!

  34. Bronwyn Shaffer
    February 12, 2016 / 8:39 am

    I discovered a cocktail called “The Sun Also Rises” Grapefruit juice (I use a grapefruit soda) Vodka, Aperol, and a splash of maraschino cherry liquor. Pretty and tasty!

  35. February 12, 2016 / 9:08 am

    I’ve not heard of Hibiscus liqueur. Sounds good. I’ve never been a Gin fan but it sounds nice like this!

    • Clara
      February 15, 2016 / 11:48 am

      I’m pleased that sorrel has entered the spotlight. Grew up drinking an infusion made from the sepals blended with crushed ginger cloves and cinnamon. Ubiquitous in the Caribbean especially during Christmas. This is nonalcoholic, of course. Recently learned it’s called rosella in Australia.

  36. Sue
    February 12, 2016 / 9:52 am

    I think the best cocktail I’ve tasted is a Bagheera which I enjoyed on a Cunard cruise. It is made of fresh ginger, fresh lemon, vodka and ginger beer. I’m a big fan of ginger so this hit the spot!

  37. Lynn
    February 12, 2016 / 10:49 am

    My “usual” is Grey Goose L’Orange with a splash of cranberry, “up,” in a martini glass. The glass is everything, and makes it fun. This book looks great, so thank you for this opportunity. Even if I don’t win, I’m going to buy several copies as gifts for my sister & brother-in-law and for my husband’s sister & brother-in-law (and 1 for myself!). My husband and I have spent many delightful weekends in Paris with each of these “Family as Best Friends” couples and have wonderful memories together. Love your blog!

  38. Chris
    February 12, 2016 / 11:11 am

    I’ve only had one Martini in my life but the setting was memorable. It was at the late, storied Palm Court of the Plaza Hotel in NYC where we stayed on our brief honeymoon. We were married the day before which was also my 23rd birthday. Since I was now a grown-up married lady, I decided to order a grown-up drink. ,

  39. Babette
    February 12, 2016 / 11:31 am

    I love a Tom Collins, love the cherry. It was the first cocktail I ever ordered and still love them when made well. I also love a Harvey Wallbanger. Can you tell I’m a child of the 60’s?

  40. February 12, 2016 / 11:58 am

    I just had a Moscow Mule the other day and loved the bite of the ginger beer with the smooth vodka is way better than I expected.

  41. February 12, 2016 / 1:43 pm

    I’m a vodka martini gal all the way. Very dry and 3 olives please.

    bisous
    Suzanne

  42. February 12, 2016 / 2:03 pm

    My favorite cocktail is a glass of champagne with a dash of violet liqueur in it. It’s beautiful and just has that faint whiff of flower.

  43. February 12, 2016 / 3:51 pm

    Whenever I am in Munich I must order an Aperol Spritz. They taste even better there than at home.

  44. February 12, 2016 / 4:10 pm

    My favorite cocktail is a Kir Royale – mmm!

  45. Jean
    February 12, 2016 / 4:13 pm

    I love cocktails with violet liqueur as well – Aviation or Blue Moon.

  46. February 12, 2016 / 5:17 pm

    A Paper Planes from Puritan & Co. In Cambridge would hit the spot!

  47. Nichole
    February 12, 2016 / 5:28 pm

    An Almost Perfect at C&O Restaurant in Charlottesville!

  48. Chris M.
    February 12, 2016 / 5:36 pm

    I have several favorites which fall into and out of favored status depending on my mood and time of year. However, I have a new favorite — the French 79th from Country Cat in Portland. It’s similar to the French 75, but tweaked a little.

  49. Thea
    February 13, 2016 / 12:17 am

    Another Gin and Tonic gal here. I, too, love to try the new gins on the market. It’s surprising how different each one is.

  50. Gail Indeglia
    February 13, 2016 / 2:34 am

    A perfect gin & tonic! Hendrick’s or Sapphire….

  51. Emmy
    February 13, 2016 / 6:18 am

    Hot weather: Campari + soda, twist. Cold weather: scotch + splash of water.

  52. Rita
    February 13, 2016 / 6:34 am

    That last one sounds wonderful!

  53. Toni C
    February 13, 2016 / 7:16 am

    Mojito!

  54. Diane S
    February 13, 2016 / 8:03 am

    I did a double take when I saw your post! I met Doni and received her book at the Chicago book signing!! What a fun and fascinating woman she is (not to mention those delicious cocktails!). I have not had a chance to make any yet but plan on it soon. Please don’t enter me in the drawing as I already have this lovely book, but would like to add my favorite beverage of choice lately is a bold red wine as our temperature hovers around 12 degrees!

  55. Kathleen
    February 13, 2016 / 8:14 am

    A classic Manhattan made with a fine bourbon – so elegant!

  56. Paula
    February 13, 2016 / 3:53 pm

    Hmmm….nobody said beer. I must be weird. But I love a cold, hand-crafted beer from our local brewery.

  57. Debra Johnson
    February 13, 2016 / 6:58 pm

    Kir Royale! Although I must say I had a very tasty gin drink last night….a Royal Street Gin & Tonic…..had ginger liqueur, fresh lemon juice, and was garnished with a sprig of rosemary.

  58. Valerie
    February 13, 2016 / 10:46 pm

    Vodka tonic.

  59. Julie Magnus
    February 14, 2016 / 2:52 am

    A refreshing Moscow Mule with ginger beer, served in a copper mug- garnished with fresh mint!

  60. Duchesse
    February 14, 2016 / 5:38 am

    The French really do not drink American-style cocktails all that much. though they have been taken up, like hamburgers. here and there. Most French hosts serve an apéro at home, such as a glass of champagne or pastis. If you try to get a cocktail in Paris, your best bet is a hotel bar or a specialized cocktail bar like The Rosebud or Le Scott (my absolute favourite) . The corner bistro does not offer them. In some circles a kir royale is considered hopelessly dated, go figure. I still find it a romantic, delightful drink.

    • une femme
      February 14, 2016 / 9:46 am

      Hi Duchesse, according to Doni that’s changing at least in Paris. The book lists several iconic and newer bars that specialize in craft cocktails. I’m looking forward to visiting some of them when we’re there in July.

      • Duchesse
        February 15, 2016 / 3:48 pm

        Yes, that is true Your typical good traditional bistro will not serve them; it’s a new thing. If you order a martini you will usually be served a small glass of Martini, the fortified wine.

  61. Denise
    February 14, 2016 / 6:53 am

    Love a brandy old fashioned press…with soda instead of 7 Up, which makes the drink too sweet.

  62. Darlene B.
    February 14, 2016 / 12:11 pm

    Love a good Crown Royal and coke for a relaxing after work cocktail with my Sweetie!

  63. February 14, 2016 / 1:55 pm

    Woodford Old Fashioned, extra bitters, pre-prohibition style.

  64. marsha calhoun
    February 14, 2016 / 5:40 pm

    A French 75, of course. Or a martini (gin, of course), up with both an olive and a lemon peel (my daddy made them that way).

  65. February 15, 2016 / 5:37 am

    what a delightful book.. I do hope I win, we are having a lot of company this year as my son is getting married in they summer. Thank you for the chance to win the book.

  66. Cher
    February 15, 2016 / 12:57 pm

    Margarita made with fresh squeezed lime and Cointreau is my favorite!

  67. Linda D.
    February 17, 2016 / 5:56 pm

    A Maker’s Mark Manhattan. Yum. And I, too, have a bad gin story. Doesn’t everyone?

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