The second I cracked open Doni Belau’s new book “Paris Cocktails,” I developed a renewed desire to travel to Paris. Her elegantly written descriptions and witty wording, combined with perfectly-paired imagery and illustrations, made me want to be right there alongside the author, sipping a cocktail in the city where many famous writers have called home. Her phrases capture the essence of cocktails perfectly, as “art in a glass” and the whole experience a “very tasty theatre, where bartender and patron alike are learning something new every day.”
Doni’s book resonated with me on several levels. Not only is it ideal to have on hand for the times you want to indulge your creative side and produce a spectacular cocktail concoction, as it is filled with mouthwatering recipes, the book is also informational, detailing facts such as who invented which cocktails as well as general history and knowledge about alcoholic beverages and usage. She also suggests events for one to host at home. I won’t give away too much, but a “Midnight in Paris” themed evening is one of the ideas. Many of these gatherings I’d like to try myself.
Additionally, the book serves as a terrific guide to Paris for both locals and visitors alike, whether you are looking for a certain cocktail, a specific atmosphere vibe or location with a spectacular view. As she visited 50 bars in six weeks, Doni highlights and categorises the best places to go in Paris. She even describes many unique establishments, like a bar in an old train station or another in a bookstore. Plus there is something for everyone, from sweet and savoury flavours to budget and high-end prices. Moreover, for those that have difficulty deciding (like me), the “Best of the Best” section adds Doni’s own personal reflection, stating which cocktails and bar tenders for instance she favoured. This opinion is a nice touch, with so many wonderful options outlined in the book.
“Paris Cocktails” also triggered memories from my last trip to Paris with my partner Matthijs. That visit in July 2011 was particularly special, as we booked a short weekend away. Surrounded by bright, sunny flowers in the city of romance, it was on this occasion I received my first piece of jewellery from him: a double-linked heart-shaped necklace. In total bliss, we spent our days wandering the charming streets, gazing at the gorgeous facades and regal buildings. We stood under the Eiffel Tower, admiring the enormous structure from below, and marvelled in awe at the intricate details of the Opera House. The entire weekend was made complete with smooth French wines and mouthwatering food.
After reading “Paris Cocktails,” though, I cannot wait to visit Paris once again, this time exploring it through Doni’s eyes with a fantastic cocktail in hand. Additionally, I’ll be sure to read her tips on Girls’ Guide to Paris, as Doni is the founder. I’m eager to experience a whole new side of the city.