I tend to drink more in the fall. Maybe it’s the looming of my upcoming birthday, maybe it’s the slight chill in the air, hell, maybe it’s the pheromones in the air. For whatever reason, I enjoy throwing more than a couple back in September. The shift of season brings on richer, more full bodied cocktails with wonderfully rich spices and deviant amounts of booze… Just my style.
As the world’s largest cocktail festival, Tales of the Cocktail® is by far the best event in the world for both spirits industry professionals and cocktail enthusiasts. For five days straight, the most respected minds in mixology converge in the city of New Orleans for a seemingly endless stream of cocktails, cuisine and culture.
In addition to being the biggest cocktail party in the world, Tales boasts an event schedule of seminars, dinners, competitions and tasting rooms where brands showcase their latest products. I’m thrilled to announce that this year, Tales is featuring a seminar on a topic near and dear to my heart…. beer cocktails! Continue Reading
Spring is upon us with a plethora of sunshine and warmth, demanding a new focus on more refreshing and bright beer cocktails. One of my favorite warm weather sippers has always been the gin fizz — bright, citrusy and effervescent. My rule of thumb with beer cocktails is: any drink that calls for soda water, tonic or juice can easily be substituted with beer. Case and point: The Gin Fizz.
This cocktail is loosely based on the Silver Gin Fizz, which calls for gin, citrus, sugar, egg whites and soda water. Inspired by Bison Brewing’s Honey Basil Ale, I chose to shake “spanked” basil with honey, fresh lemon juice, lime juice, egg whites and one of my all time favorite gins — St. George Spirit’s Botanivore — and top the concoction with beer.
The result is a tart, fizzy cocktail with hints of caramel sweetness, notes of clover honey, and a whisper of basil. Absolutely perfect for this time of year!
This cocktail has a base in a classic. The Pimm’s Cup. This variation uses fresh citrus juice, Pimm’s No. 1 a bit of Demerara sugar and a wheat beer that lends it’s citrus qualities to this refreshing drink. I like Hitachino Nest White Ale, it has a touch of spice that goes nicely with Pimm’s and plenty of citrus. The other go to is my local NOLA Brewing Co. 7th Street Wheat, which also has great lemon notes.
I was recently challenged to make a Belgian Wit inspired beer cocktail for an upcoming event with Maui Brewing Company. When I think of pale malt beers that boast fruity, floral and slightly spicy esters — I always gravitate towards Gin. The botanical nature of gin is an excellent match for the lighter Belgian ales, such as wits and saisons.
The recipe inspiration came from the classic “Silver Fizz” — a gin based cocktail with lemon juice, sugar, egg whites and soda water. In an effort to add more flavor, I substituted the sugar with Elderflower syrup and the soda water with Maui Brewing’s La Perouse Belgian Wit-style Ale.
In order to incorporate more botanicals into the mix, I went with one of my favorite gins, St. George Spirits Botanivore. The result is a bright and refreshing, moderately tart and slight floral beer cocktail perfect for the hot spring and summer months. Continue Reading
One of the best things about using beer in cocktails is that the possibilities are endless. There are thousands of beers out there, each with its own flavor profile. In addition to just using beer on its own as an ingredient, beer can also easily be turned into a flavored syrup or liqueur, opening up new avenues of creativity for beer cocktails.
I think that the use of beer syrups in cocktails is a fantastic way to incorporate the flavors of a beer without adding carbonation to your drink, because lets face it, not every drink needs to be bright and sparkly. Sometimes you need something stronger that is going to linger in the glass a while.
This past weekend I had the honor of mixing a beer cocktail for Firestone Walker’s “From the Barrel” event at the Santa Margarita Ranch. The entire event was centered around beverages that hail from a barrel — specifically Bourbon, Port and barrel-aged beers.
I was challenged to mix a cocktail with one of Firestone Walker’s delicious ales, as well as Bourbon. To best compliment the vanilla and toasted oak flavors in the Bourbon, I opted to use Walker’s Reserve — a robust porter boasting rich flavors of toffee, caramel and bittersweet chocolate.
In my mind, nothing pairs better with chocolate and vanilla flavors like berries. For this particular cocktail, I chose to use blackberries (quite possibly my favorite of the berry family). Add touch of blood orange juice and a few dash of bitters, and you have one killer cocktail. Continue Reading