Skip to content

City of Light Cocktail recipe

There’s nothing like an icy cocktail to start off summer, and I’m considering making this my new seasonal refresher. When the team at Lucques restaurant in Los Angeles presented a menu from My Paris Kitchen for one of their Sunday suppers, head bartender, Christiaan Rollich came up with an inspired cocktail that’s light, and refreshing, and combines a splash of Lillet, a pour of French vermouth, another nod to France with a dash of orange liqueur, finished up with some bubbly from our friends across the border in Italy.

Lucques cocktail city of light.jpg

Since I’m traveling light on my book tour, I brought along my dinky point-and-shoot camera. (And because I was being très LA, I was doing plenty of table-hopping – or, as they say, “working the room.”) But when I checked out the shots after I had been revived from the combo of food, drink, and friends the next day, the results were less-than-stellar. Thankfully, when you have pals who are amazing food photographers, you can hit them up for photos.

Food photographer pal Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites surprised me by showing up for the dinner Malheuresement, publishers don’t consider book tours to be author vacations, so I didn’t have a speck of time to jump into his pool or taste his brick-oven pizza. So we had to make due with having just enough time for a major hug, which almost sent me to Cedar-Sinai for an x-ray for broken ribs. But it would’ve been worth it.

City of Lights.jpg

I know people in Los Angeles go to great lengths to get what they want, so I got down on my hands and knees and begged him to take pity on a harried traveler, and requested if he had any pictures that I could use, ones which did the special cocktail better justice than mine did. And he kindly sent me some of his beautiful pictures to use in this post.

After tasting this cocktail, an ode of the City of Light – aka Paris – I’m happy to know that I have all the ingredients on hand in my Paris kitchen (which doubles as My Paris Bar), so I can make one whenever I want, once I get home. And perhaps, someday, I’ll have the chance to taste a one – or two – by his pool. Or perhaps three.

City of Light

At Lucques, Barman Christiaan Rollich, who came up with the drink, uses Dolin dry French vermouth. You could swap out another brand of vermouth. Prosecco is a lively, sparkling wine from Italy. It’s a less-expensive alternative to Champagne and is an excellent mixer for cocktails, such as this one.
  • 1 1/2 ounces dry vermouth, preferably Dolin
  • 1 ounce Lillet blanc, (white)
  • 1 ounce orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau
  • 1 ounce Prosecco
  • lemon wheel and orange wheel
  • Fill a small pitcher halfway with ice. Add vermouth, Lillet, and orange liqueur, and stir briskly until well-chilled. Strain into a stemmed wine glass.
  • Add a generous handful of fresh ice and top with a pour of Prosecco. Drop in a lemon and orange wheel, and serve.

Thanks to Matt Armendariz for the generous use of his photographs, which are used with his permission.



    • Piaf Vintage French

    Looks refreshing and delightful! Will definitely give this a try as soon as it starts to heat up. Thanks!

    • ClaireD

    As I’m sure you noticed on your visit to Austin, summer is just starting to warm up here and this drink looks like a refreshing beginning to what will be a very sultry summer. Thanks!

    • Caroline

    Sounds like a great pre lunch or supper drink in outdoor weather! Please let me know what Lillet wine is? Can I use a Macon or a Pinot Gris instead? Good luck on the rest of your very busy tour! Caroline

    • Maura in LA

    Dear David:

    As one of your many fans, and delighted owner of all of your cookbooks, it was a great pleasure to meet you — though briefly — at the Lucques Sunday supper event. Although you must have been exhausted, you were so gracious and friendly to all of us. And being there gave me a chance to meet a few of your other readers/fans — and to remember how wonderful the mix of people in LA is when, as a resident of one of the far flung burbs who works way too much, I actually get out for an evening. Thank you for your books, your blog, your creativity — and for being the catalyst for a wonderful (and rare) evening out.

    Best regards,


    • Jean

    Caroline, since David may not have time to answer your question right now, no, you can’t substitute white table wine for Lillet. Lillet is a brand name for a French apéritif that is higher in alcohol than table wine and has a bittersweet flavor of orange peels. It comes in white, red and rosé but the white is by far the most popular type and is the type called for in this recipe.

    Most good wine shops carry Lillet and it retails for between $18 and $22 a bottle, generally.

    • Carolyn

    I’m planning to attend one of your book signings in San Francisco. I see your erratum post here and wonder if the recipes in “My Paris Kitchen” have been tested?

    • Kiki

    I suddenly have those parched dry lips….. Gosh, this whole post is an ode to SUMMER (which we most definitely don’t have yet here in Paris)…. pure teasing on your side. Although I should feel more like a hot soup or a toddy, I shall now see if I can ‘brew’ something similar to this delicious looking and sounding drink!

    I’m sleeping with your cookery book next to me; so much beauty, so many wonderful stories, such richness of great food. Thank you, thank you

    • Nora Signer

    Hi David — What fun! I’m happily anticipating seeing you in New York City, both the evening and Union Square book signing. Hopefully your exhaustion will be tempered by the enthusiasm of your friends and fans. And no more lumpy beds!

    Hi Carolyn, in response to your question have the recipes been tested… See David’s most informative post of 04/08/14, “The Making of My Paris Kitchen”. It’s a great read, and he says each recipe has been tested at least 3 times. Would that more of us possessed David’s humor and stick toitiveness!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, and thanks for referring to that post, Nora. I test everything at least three times, minimum, usually more. (One recipe, the tarte Tropézienne, I tested seventeen times.) Once satisfied, I have someone other than me test the recipes, in the U.S., and then I make many of them again when shooting the photos. In a book of 130,00 words, even though the manuscript was line-edited by me (multiple times), and proofed by three cookbook editors, sometimes things just slip through and don’t get noticed. Or the person doing the data entry makes an omission. Rather than letting them go, I thought I would mention them here as they are minor, but might raise questions.

        • Nora Signer

        David we are so spoiled by the superlative quality of your work, the great good humor with which you present it, and the illusion that we know you personally, so all of the labors behind the scene remain hidden, which I suspect is your intention after all. Kudos to you! It’s not easy to make it all look so natural and full of fun and have it be so illuminating and such fun for us. Thank you!!!

    • Jordan

    Ça tombe bien– I wanted to comment on your margarita post from July 2013, but hélas, the comments were closed.

    David (and others!), I’m a longtime reader now living in Paris. I plan on giving a Cinco de Mayo party à l’américaine and I was wondering if you might have any tips for finding decent, affordable tequila in Paris? I realize that might be a fool’s errand…

    Thanks so much!

    • Sandra Alexander

    Thanks, David, for the many pleasures from your blog and books. And for putting us on to Lillet, which we have just been drinking as an aperitif in its home town, Bordeaux, though we didn’t come across the Lillet factory in our country drives, as you did. We just had to cope with the wine, the cheese, the oysters, the tapas – what a great city! Autumn closing in slowly here, down under, so will wait till spring to enjoy that delicious Lillet cocktail.

    • J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats

    Your home bar is much more well-stocked than mine if you have all the ingredients on hand :)

    Reading Jordan’s comment and surprised there is no affordable, decent tequila in Paris. Is there no Parisian equivalent of a BevMo? Haha ;)

    • Johne650

    I am impressed with this website, rattling I am a big fan. gbeedbekfdcc

    • Rachel

    Thanks for this recipe, it looks delicious. And I can make it now as, as per your recommendation I picked up a bottle of Lillet Blanc in France (rather hard to find in Brittany, though!) so once I’ve tried it as an aperitif I can start mixing it into things!

    • Isabella Popper

    Simply love it! Must try it today! Thanks

    • zindc

    I love Lucques! I am a refugee from LAla land, but try to get to Lucques or AOC whenever I return. I hosted an impromptu dinner party last night and we served this delightful beverage, which everyone loved. We used Cocchi Americano because we only had Lillet rose on hand, and we ended up decreasing the amount of orange liqueur slightly and increasing the Prosecco, but it is definitely going into our summer repertoire. And though I haven’t yet acquired your cookbook, I happened to have a few artichokes on hand so in your honor, I improvised an artichoke tapenade, blending in spring garlic greens and a tomatillo which along with parsley and basil, greened it up nicely to balance the khaki tones of the artichokes and green olives. It was a lovely accompaniment to the City of Light, spread on homemade crusty bread brought by a guest. A santé!

    • Adonis

    I love LOVE love your blog!
    Not that I would ever bake or cook… but I love the way you write, how your words come out… I love the pictures, the mood… everything.
    Thank you :)
    <333 ;D

    • Angel Reyes

    You sure know how to work the book tour. Hopefully you are getting a few breaks here and there. Thanks for sharing the cocktail recipe. I know just who I’ll be surprising with it! David Lebovitz, keeping families together!!!

    • Beeta @ Miss Sophisticate

    This looks so refreshing! Prosecco, Grand Marnier…I’m in!

    • Carol Melancon

    Hard to convey how excited I was to have all the ingredients for this after doing yard work this morning in 85 F South Louisiana spring weather. (Well, I had a gifted California brut, Noilly Prat, and no lemons [hangs head at no lemons] but damn close enough.) It was lovely! Very refreshing, and feels lighter than a glass of white wine. I’m also very pleased it doesn’t make my salivary glands spasm like a Mimosa sometimes does. My new airy, summer favorite.

    • tunie

    That sounds delicious! I like only a bit of buzz and so prefer lighter cocktails like this one. Hoping your post on the menu is coming up, as that photo is such a TEASE, lol.

    • Lisa in Toronto

    Just wanted to say that I tried the Cherry Tomato Crostini with Homemade Herbed Goat Cheese (Tartines de Tomates Cerises, Chèvre Frais Maison aux Herbes) recipe.
    Delicious! Instantly demolished by my family.
    I am looking forward to this drink. Now if Toronto could just get the temperature over 12C….
    Best wishes for a very successful book tour!

    • Louise Fazzalari

    David,your book arrived today, hence my day is made.Thank you so much it is fabulous.Please don’t visit Hawaii instead of coming back to Paris for your book signing on 7th June, I will be so disappointed (being selfish).I walked Orléans and successfully found Lillet ,most delectable now that we have a spot of sunshine.
    Best wishes and continued successful book signing.Louise

    • Louise Fazzalari

    Hello David again! You may go to Hawaii on way back to France as the trains from Orléans to Paris aren’t running that weekend so I am distraught that I won’t be able to attend your book signing,at least I have your book . Louise

    • Karen

    The other night when we were making cocktails my husband reminded me of the Dubonnet commercial from the 1980’s with Pia Zadora -“The French Idea of a Cocktail” – so fun to watch on YouTube. This looks so much better!

    • Christina

    This was good! Then I added fresh mint, and it was GREAT!

    Nice idea, thanks for sharing.

    • Pam

    Thank you for the errata memo David.
    I’ve made about 8 recipes from the book, some repeatedly (am looking at you steak with mustard butter and frites!).
    So far I’ve found your book to be stellar in terms of detail and spectacular outcomes.
    The recipes are not ‘concepts’ but very reliable.
    Since I was an early adapter and have a first edition I appreciate your memo.


Get David's newsletter sent right to your Inbox!


Sign up for my newsletter and get my FREE guidebook to the best bakeries and pastry shops in Paris...