In blogging, as in life, timing is everything.  And, as in life, mine usually sucks.  For instance, I’ll find a recipe for an April Flowers cake.  And I’ll look at the calendar and dammit, it’ll be the first of May!  But every once in a while the planets align.  As it is with this week’s post for a delicious cocktail called Darling Don’t Refrain. 

Now some of you will have immediately recognised why the timing of this is important.  Others will be pausing and thinking “Darling don’t refrain…doesn’t that…isn’t that…it’s from a song right?..Oh…that song….” And some of you, dare I say the younger readers, are staring blankly at the screen thinking “Shut your rambling and get on with  it”.

So to put the pausers and the starers out of their misery, “So, if you want to love me, then Darling don’t refrain” is a line from a Guns and Roses song called….. November Rain.  And hey, hey…it’s November.  And I’m posting the Darling Don’t Refrain!

Timing is everything….

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I found the Darling Don’t Refrain…and for those of you that know the song…you know you can’t just say those words, you have to sing them…in a book of St Germain Cocktails called How to Drink French Fluently by Drew Lazor and Camille Ralph Vidal.


This is a great book, full of session style cocktails –  so mostly low alcohol so you can drink them over a period of time without getting too sozzled!   They had me at drinking French.  Never mind the St Germain, the ability to knock back a couple of these over brunch, the cocktail hour or dinner, and that the recipes featured in the book are from some of America’s best bartenders!

I love St Germain so this book was a super find for me.  It offers a great range of St Germain cocktails from the Classic cocktail which is St Germain, dry sparkling wine and soda water to innovative drinks like the intriguing sounding Smoked Tomato containing Santa Rosa plums, anise hyssop leaves and smoked tomato infused St Germain!

It is broken into 5 parts – Brunch, Daytime, Aperitif, Dinner and Nightcap so there is an appropriate cocktail for any time of the day you are contemplating drinking!


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The photography in How To Drink French Fluently is gorgeous and the writing is as delicious as the cocktails:

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The Darling Don’t Refrain comes from the Dinner section of How to Drink French Fluently – the idea is that as the meal unfolds, the St Germain ice cubes melt, developing the flavours of the drink.  The lighter alcohol content also means you don’t have to refrain – you can enjoy a few of these with your meal!

I have changed the original recipe by Micah Melton very slightly.  That recipe called for Manzanilla sherry.  I had Fino so I used that.  I later found out that they are basically the same thing…

Also, the original recipe called for 1/4 ounce of simple syrup. 

I mean really. 

Life’s too short to be making simple syrup so you can use 1/4 ounce of it.  I added 1/2 tsp of sugar into the shaker.  

Darling Don't Refrain
A delicious refreshing cocktail designed to be drunk with food. However, if you want one or more on it's own, then darling, don't refrain!
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For the Drink
  1. 1 1/2 oz London Dry Gin ( I used Bombay Sapphire)
  2. 1/2 oz manzanilla or fino sherry
  3. 1/2 oz lemon juice
  4. 1/2 oz Orange Curacao (I used Cointreau, the original recipe recommended BroVo)
  5. 3 drops orange flower water
  6. 1/2 tsp caster sugar
For The St Germain Ice Cubes
  1. 2 oz St Germain
  2. 1 ½ oz water
  3. ¾ oz lemon juice
For the Garnish
  1. A sprig of lemon thyme
For the St Germain Ice Cubes
  1. Combine all ingredients in a spouted jug.
  2. Pour into an ice cube tray and freeze until solid.
  3. Makes 4 ice cubes
For The Drink
  1. Combine the gin, sherry, orange curacao, orange flower water and sugar into a shaker.
  2. Shake gently, then pour into a Collins glass filled with the St Germain ice cubes.
  3. Top with the soda water and garnish with the lemon thyme.
Adapted from very slightly from Micha Melton in How To Drink French Fluently
Adapted from very slightly from Micha Melton in How To Drink French Fluently
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/

Darling Don't Refrain5Okay, now it’s time for some cocktail karaoke.  Because it’s not fair that it’s only me who has had this song stuck in their head for DAYS now….

Some of you will remember the bonkers video for November Rain.  If not, or probably more relevantly if you do, click here to read a very funny takedown of it by the peeps at Teamrock.

Many thanks to Netgalley and the team at Ten Speed Press for the ARC of How to Drink French Fluently.

Have a great week!
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