French Apéritifs; History, Cocktails, and Culture with David Lebovitz

French Apéritifs; History, Cocktails, and Culture with David Lebovitz


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Discover the world of iconic French apéritifs, from Dubonnet to Dolin to classics such as Pineau de Charentes, Lillet and Byrrh. This conversation will cover many aspects of French apéritif culture, whose roots go back centuries.

We'll learn that most aperitifs were concoctions formulated with regional and imported botanicals and sold as health tonics. Over time, these herbal remedies become drinks enjoyed in cafés across France, and now, around the world. From the Carthusian monks who, over a thousand years ago, happened upon an unusual recipe for an herbal elixir (that was initially sold as a toothpaste!) to two brothers in the textile trade who invented a drink as a side business that became the best-selling apéritif in the world, the history of these iconic French spirits will be discussed in depth. We will even learn how to make drinks and cocktails using them.

Led by an expert on French culinary culture, David Lebovitz, this interactive seminar is an invitation to delve deeply into the world of French libations. Designed to inform curiosity and future travels, participants will come away with an increased knowledge of what's in those bottles of French spirits you may have been eyeing in French cafés and how to enjoy them.

Boulevardier

Adapted from Drinking French (Ten Speed Press)

  • 2 ounces whiskey, rye or bourbon
  • 1 ounce red (sweet) vermouth (you could also use Dubonnet or a similar red apéritif)
  • 1 ounce red bitter apéritif, such as Campari
  • Orange twist or cherry, for garnish

The Yellow Cocktail

A new classic French cocktail, from Frank Audoux of Cravan in Paris. Adapted from Drinking French (Ten Speed Press)

  • ¾ ounce London dry gin
  • ¾ ounce Suze or Salers (gentian liqueur)
  • ¾ ounce yellow Chartreuse
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Lemon twist

City of Light

Adapted from Christiaan Rollich, formerly of Lucques restaurant in Los Angeles. Adapted from Drinking French (Ten Speed Press)

  • Half lemon wheel, half orange wheel, and 2 thin slices of cucumbers
  • 1 ½ ounces dry vermouth
  • 1 ounce Lillet
  • 1 ounce orange liqueur, such as Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
  • 1 ounce (or more) dry prosecco or crémant

Suze and Tonic

Adapted from Drinking French (Ten Speed Press)

  • 1 ounce gentian liqueur, such as Suze or Salers
  • 3 ounces cold tonic water
  • 2 lime wedges or 1 lemon and 1 lime wedge, for garnish

David Lebovitz spent nearly thirteen years as a baker in the kitchen of Chez Panisse in California before moving to Paris nearly two decades ago. He has written seven cookbooks, as well as two memoirs about his life in Paris, which are currently in development for a television series. He has been writing his popular blog, www.davidlebovitz, since 1999 and was recently awarded the Blog of the Decade honor by Saveur magazine. His most recent book, Drinking French, has been a best-seller of 2020 and raised awareness of French spirits and apéritifs across America and around the world.

Not suitable for children under age 13 (sensitive content).

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 46 reviews
85%
(39)
9%
(4)
4%
(2)
0%
(0)
2%
(1)
M
Michele Topor (Boston, US)
Wonderful and fun presentation

You can be guaranteed a fun and educational presentation with David, and don't hesitate to get his book, Drinking French! It was a lifesaver during the lockdown. I learned so much!!

K
Karin (Cedar Park, US)
INSPIRATION

Although I have seen and heard David more than a few times, I always get something new from his talks. It never gets old but stays fresh.

B
BETH PIATNITZA (Oakland, US)
What’s in an aperitif?

David Leibovitz is so much fun to listen to and he covers a lot of ground in this class, including the origins and history of his favorite French aperitifs. I now know what I want to buy and try. Another great class from Context!

R
Rebecca Morrison (Durham, US)
All About French Aperitifs

It’s always a pleasure to listen to David Lebovitz because he makes everything interesting. He shared his extensive knowledge of French aperitifs in a relaxed and relatable manner.
I especially enjoyed hearing about his visits to various French distilleries while researching his excellent book, Drinking French.
I highly recommend this conversation to anyone who wants to learn about French aperitifs and the history and culture that surround them.

N
Nan Werther (Lynbrook, US)
Fabulous class!

Fabulous class! Loved hearing the history of the assorted aperitifs! Hoping one day I get to France to experience all!

Customer Reviews

Based on 46 reviews
85%
(39)
9%
(4)
4%
(2)
0%
(0)
2%
(1)
M
Michele Topor (Boston, US)
Wonderful and fun presentation

You can be guaranteed a fun and educational presentation with David, and don't hesitate to get his book, Drinking French! It was a lifesaver during the lockdown. I learned so much!!

K
Karin (Cedar Park, US)
INSPIRATION

Although I have seen and heard David more than a few times, I always get something new from his talks. It never gets old but stays fresh.

B
BETH PIATNITZA (Oakland, US)
What’s in an aperitif?

David Leibovitz is so much fun to listen to and he covers a lot of ground in this class, including the origins and history of his favorite French aperitifs. I now know what I want to buy and try. Another great class from Context!

R
Rebecca Morrison (Durham, US)
All About French Aperitifs

It’s always a pleasure to listen to David Lebovitz because he makes everything interesting. He shared his extensive knowledge of French aperitifs in a relaxed and relatable manner.
I especially enjoyed hearing about his visits to various French distilleries while researching his excellent book, Drinking French.
I highly recommend this conversation to anyone who wants to learn about French aperitifs and the history and culture that surround them.

N
Nan Werther (Lynbrook, US)
Fabulous class!

Fabulous class! Loved hearing the history of the assorted aperitifs! Hoping one day I get to France to experience all!