This year, it's a safe bet that holiday gatherings are likely to be more intimate, with perhaps more celebrations online rather than around a table. When you sit by the fireplace ... or the computer, it is pleasant to have a drink in your hand, either to relax or to make things more festive. Unless you are the beautiful Ina Garten, who prefers to do pitcher drinks, individual drinks are a good way to celebrate more intimate gatherings and you can do one to two, or scale them up to four or six, if needed. My hot chocolate recipes (below) can easily be made ahead - in fact, they're better if they are - and then reheated right before serving. marshmallows and whipped cream are optional, but if I want to be honest they are encouraged.
Here are my favorite and most popular drink recipes on the blog that will keep you warm, including two types of hot chocolate (there are several more in Drink French, including a Salted Butter Caramel version), French mulled wine, an apple-based cocktail and some cranberry libations. There is also an Old Fashioned brown butter, a pink Cosmo to brighten things up, a Creative Kir, and Jeff Morgenthaler's incredible eggnog. So no matter where you are, whether you're at home with friends and family, or able to get together, here are some drinks that I hope will help make this holiday season more enjoyable. ..
A winter classic in many countries, when they are open (they closed for the moment), Parisian cafes will have the words'Hot wine ' scribbled on a chalkboard indoors or outdoors, inviting people to come in from the cold for a drink. Patrons are typically huddled around terrace tables or standing at the bar, sipping glasses of spicy mulled wine, but this year mulled wine House will be in fashion. My version of hot wine is spiced with cardamom, star anise, cloves and fresh ginger. And it's even better if you pour a little cognac in it!
It's apple season, and nothing goes better with these autumn fruits than Calvados, the famous apple brandy from Normandy. Named for the Gare du Montparnasse in Paris, where trains leave for Normandy, this fiery cocktail is tempered with a hint of floral elderflower liqueur and reinforced with apple cider (or juice) to make it the perfect cocktail to toast the season .
People from all over the world come to Paris to sip the ultra-rich hot chocolate sold in chic cafes and tea rooms. This year it's probably not in your cards, but don't worry it's easy to do Parisian hot chocolate at home… and it's faster than you might think, because mine contains only two ingredients. (Spoiler: One of them is not cream ...)
When I went to chocolate school in Belgium, then I did an apprenticeship at a famous chocolate factory, one of the things I picked up was this recipe for a sensational Belgian hot chocolate. It's silkier and milder than its Parisian counterpart and has a touch of spice and salt. You can add a splash of whipped cream if you want to take some on top of it, but it's quite delicious on its own and doesn't necessarily need to be decorated.
I don't know about you, but some days this year I'll admit being Monsier Crankypants. (Sorry, I don't know how to say "crankypants" in French. So if you're French, maybe help me with that one?) It's been a year of ups and downs, with more drops than many of us cannot count. However, there is nothing that lights things up like a good old man Cosmo. Carrie and the girls at Sex and the City knew how to turn any event into a good time with these pink libations and I take advice from them and every time I make one up at home I have it. feeling of drinking to celebrate better times in advance. In 2021!
I am a very fast drinker, something I learned from working in restaurants. But I'm also a very quick eater and definitely the first person to make dinner. (Probably because I'm keen on dessert as well.) But give me a glass of something, whether it's water, wine, or whiskey, and I tend to drink it quickly. That's why I like the Negroni Sbagliato. It is based on the flavors of the classic Negroni, but instead of gin there is prosecco which makes it light and wispy. It still has the same potent flavor as Negroni, courtesy of Campari, so it won't leave you feeling like you're missing out. But unlike Negronis, having a second round won't hit you for a loop. Serve it in a large wine goblet if you want to make it more festive.
Genepy liqueur is not very well known in the United States, but in the French Alps it is a classic winter drink. Made from yellow flowers found in the mountains, its herbaceous shines through loud and clear in anything it's added to or enjoyed on its own. (Forthave Spirits in the United States makes a genépy liqueur if you want to give it a taste. And French-made Dolin is also available in the US.) Gentian liqueur and Cap Corse blanc (made from lemons), from sunny Corsica, complement the herbal flavors of this sunny cocktail, or you can use white Lillet, which will add notes. orange.
Discard all other eggnog recipes. Go ahead, I'll wait. This one from the bartender and the author Jeff Morgenthaler surprise with tequila and sherry in place of the usual whiskey or brandy, and hoo-boy, is that good. the Eggnog is as fun and delicious as Jeffrey, and that says a lot. So try this recipe this year, and it is not left out either. chocolate chip cookie department either, which happens to be a perfect accompaniment to a tall glass of its Christmas milk.
Fresh cranberries are not readily available in France and when I find them I use them intelligently. (Which will only make sense to you if you live overseas and have a habit of rationing things like foil and chunky peanut butter.) One of the best ways to use them is in this cranberry shrub. With vinegar as a base, it makes a slightly pungent and refreshing soft drink mixed with soda water or tonic. But for those who want a cocktail, a little bourbon, maple syrup, and a hint of bitter, make a great cocktail.
Many know - and love - Kir royal, which is a short pour of crème de cassis topped with champagne, but the sparkling apple cider takes this regional aperitif in a new direction. Using hard cider for adults and non-alcoholic sparkling cider for the kids, or for those who don't soak, means everyone can participate in all the holiday toast around the table. Or in the case of this year, around the tablet. (Or computer.)
Inspired by a mythical sounding French inn, rather than relying on fresh cranberries, the widely available cranberry juice is the basis of this lively appetizer that also includes red vermouth, or another wine-based appetizer like the Byrrh or the red Lillet, which is topped with brandy, which will warm your soul and make you feel like you are hidden away in a cozy retreat in the French Alps, to drink like a local.
I don't know about you, but I'll take butter wherever I can find it. And if bourbon is part of the market, so be it. The brown butter "washes the fat" off the bourbon when macerated in the refrigerator, which is a chic word to say: "Let the marriage begin!" Once filtered, the brown butter bourbon goes directly into the glass with the bitters. While the easygoing classic Old fashioned contains a lump of sugar, maple syrup in its place will lead it in a decidedly vacation-friendly direction.
This is everybody favorite cocktail of Drink French, including Romain's, and with good reason. It combines aromatic rosemary and gin with tangy lime juice to make what I, too, consider the perfect drink.
Looking for a drink that is low in alcohol and flavor? This Byrrh-Cassis combines two French pillars; blackcurrant liqueur and Byrrh, which was once the most popular aperitif in the world. It's worth finding a bottle of this juicy and fruity quinine alcohol just to make this drink, although I admit that I often enjoy it on ice with a touch of orange. (Don't say it, but sometimes I add a little mezcal as well.) When I garnish this drink with fresh currants, which look like tiny holiday ornaments, I feel like I'm decorating the drink for the holidays. But a simple twist or a slice of orange will also do.
Anyone else dreaming of going to the beach right now? When I arrived in France I was surprised by all the advertisements for a tropical beach vacation at metro stations during the winter. After shivering through some terribly cold winters, I understood the allure (and the marketing genius), and now I dream of Mexico from November to March, and there is nothing like a good Margarita to get you there. I'm always up for a classic Margarita but these Orange Margaritas, which I admit to making from a pitcher because it is difficult to drink a single one, are for me workers. So even though I can't enjoy it on a Mexican beach right now, I can keep my dreams - and one of those Margaritas - and pretend I'm there.
Whether you regularly whip up Michelin-worthy meals at the drop of a hat or your cooking skills are best described as “fine, ” you can always benefit from the helpful little tricks of others. Here, 14 of our friends’, families’ and coworkers’ most-used cooking tips.
There’s a time and a place to whip out that complicated coq au vin recipe you’ve been dying to try. A dinner party isn’t that time. With a new recipe, you’ll likely be chained to the kitchen the whole time, plus, when you’re trying something for the first time, there’s always the possibility that it could go horribly wrong. When cooking for a group, we always err on the side of tried-and-true crowd-pleasers.
You do hours of prep work on an intricate dish, only to be totally disappointed once you taste the terminal product. Bummer. Instead of putting in all that effort only to be disappointed, taste while you cook. That way, you’ll realize sooner that the dish isn’t tasting how you’d like it to, and you can make all kinds of last-ditch efforts to save it. This doesn’t just work for bad-to-OK meals. Tasting midway through and realizing how perfect a dash of cayenne or a squirt of lemon juice would be can take a great dinner to legendary status.
Plating pasta means tossing some onto a plate and finishing it with a nice dollop of sauce right on the middle, right ? Wrong. Here’s how to take your carbs to the next level : On the stove there should be two pans, one with pasta and one with sauce. Cook the pasta to al dente and transfer it into the sauce. Then, add a little bit of pasta water ( literally just the starchy water the pasta has been cooking in ), which will help the sauce cling to the pasta while also keeping it the right consistency. Perfection.
In the pursuit of the perfect steak, you have to be OK with your kitchen getting a little smoky. That’s because, to get the mouthwatering sear we’re all after, the meat has to be dry and the pan should be pretty damn close to smoking hot. Trust us, it’s worth a few seconds of a blaring alarm.
Most foods are ruined by too much salt. Steak is different. When it comes to seasoning your meat ( before you cook it ), more is more. Use a generous amount of coarse Kosher salt—more than you think you need. Since most cuts of steak are pretty thick, even though you’re using a lot of salt, it’s still only covering the surface.
This one isn’t too complicated. Whether you’re making avocado toast, pizza, fried rice or a burger, the addition of a fried egg on top will not hurt your feelings. Trust us.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but we’ve definitely found ourselves in a situation where we assumed we knew all of the ingredients that went into chocolate chip cookies only to find out that we had about half the required amount of brown sugar. Ugh. to avoid a mid-cooking grocery-store trip, read the recipe from front to back—carefully—before you start.
Prepping céréales in mass quantities is less about taste than convenience. Rice, quinoa and even oatmeal last about a week in the fridge after being cooked. When we’re prepping any one of those, we double up our measurements and store the leftovers, which are then impossibly easy to use up throughout the week. Too tired to make dinner ? Heat up some leftover rice from the fridge and toss an egg on top ( remember ? ). Couldn’t be simpler.
So you fried up a pound of bacon for an indulgent ( read : delicious ) déjeuner. Great, just make sure you don’t throw out the grease in the pan. Instead, save it in the refrigerator or freezer ( it technically lasts for up to a year, but should be used sooner than that to take full advantage of its flavor ). Then, anytime you’re cooking something you typically prepare in oil, try cooking it in the bacon grease instead. You’ll never want to eat Brussels sprouts the old way again.
You’ve probably heard that whenever a dish is lacking a little something-something, the best thing to do is toss in some salt. But, we have it on good authority that salt isn’t always the answer. When you’re tasting a dish at the end and you think it needs a little oomph, often it just needs a splash of acid ( like lemon juice ) to round out the flavor.
You know the difference between a paring knife and a fillet knife, but do you know how to take care of them ? Or, more importantly, how to use them ? A set of good knives can be the difference between a stressful cooking experience and a great one. First, practice your knife skills. Look up tutorials on YouTube and practice chopping, slicing and julienne-ing. It’s amazing what you can do with your cook time when your prep time is shortened with solid knife skills. Then, once you’ve got your skills down pat, learn how to take care of your set. No one ever achieved kitchen greatness with a dull chef’s knife.
The key to tender, flavorful barbecue and roasts ? Cooking it on a low temperature for a long time. The same doesn’t go for roasting veggies. For crispy, perfectly cooked butternut squash, Brussels sprouts and more, remember the magic number : 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Any lower, and you risk pulling a pan of blah carrots out of the oven. It might seem high, but to get the nice roasted flavor, you need high heat. And while we’re on the subject, stop crowding your veggies in the pan, which will also make them soggy.
You know how just about every cookie recipe suggests that you chill your dough in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, but oftentimes you don’t listen because you just want cookies now ? ! ( Same. ) Unfortunately, this step actually does make a difference. In addition to limiting how much the dough spreads while baking, chilling your dough intensifies the flavors and produces that perfect chewy, crispy matière we know and love.
It won’t do your breath any favors, but never ( ever ) scrimp on garlic. In fact, we typically double the amount a recipe calls for. Apologies to anyone who was planning on kissing us.