So here we are again face to face with yet another daunting task — what to make for this month’s excursion into drink making splendor. It seemed like yesterday when we were knee deep in Niche Spirits and you got it folks, it is that time of the month again. This month’s Mixology Monday is hosted by our kindred spirit in imbibing Frederic at his blog Cocktail Virgin/Slut and the theme chosen by Fred is quite fanciful … beer cocktails. Beer … hhhhmmmmm, interesting. As Fred notes in his announcement post this is actually a pretty wide open canvass with which to create a little drink making art — either riff an existing drink, morph another type of fizzy lifting drink or get down right creative and conjure up a little new magic.
As with most (if not all) of my MxMo entries I usually shoot for the “being creative” side of things and so this go around will be no different. We took a shot, a pretty feeble one, last year doing some beer-centric cocktails and found them quite refreshing. During that fun trip into malty goodness we learned that using beer in a drink format is not only about the flavor profile but also balancing the texture of the beer being used. Stouts, porters and certain ale’s can be heavy and rich while lighter beers add notes of fruit against a softer texture on the palate.
What are we to do then with this challenge? Upon first reading Fred’s announcement post I was hell-bent to not do a traditional beer-based drink (one in which spirits are blended with a high dose of beer in a tall glass … or the like) but instead something a little different. Different? How so? I seemed keen to try to incorporate beer into a drink in a more subtle way. For some reason, as I thought about what I could do, my mind kept returning to one thing … a syrup. Yes; fascinated by some recent homemade experiments we set out to see if we could make a beer-based syrup for use in a spirit forward drink.
theSpeakista’s Stout-Syrup: what ultimately emerged from a little tinkering was a stout syrup that infused heavily reduced stout with white cacao liqueur and cane syrup and is a full bodied antidote to drink boredom. A little viscous in texture our little syrup mixture possesses a fascinating lingering bitterness on the after palate and is wonderfully rich with layered sweetness. Chocolate aromas and flavors permeate the mix in a faint, subtle sort of way. This syrup works quite nicely in shaken and stirred drinks, especially our first original offering below.
Happily Ever After
Recipe created (he thinks) by theSpeakista
• 2 oz London dry gin
• 1/2 oz East India Solera Sherry
• 1/2 oz Meletti amaro
• 1/2 oz stout syrup (see recipe below)
Glass: cocktail coupe or glass
Tools: mixing glass, bar-spoon and julep strainer
Assembly: Add all of the ingredients to the mixing glass and stir with plenty of cracked ice until very cold. Strain the mixture into the serving glass and serve up.
theSpeakista’s Stout-Syrup: Take one bottle of stout and reduce by half over low heat; add another bottle of stout and reduce by half; add to this mixture a third bottle of stout and one-half cup each of white cacao liqueur and cane syrup. Reduce the mixture by two-thirds. Strain the mixture through a tea strainer and bottle.
The verdict: Oh my … me thinks I like this drink (note: author rarely pats self on back). There are bold flavors in this mixture but none seems to dominate. The syrup not only adds a touch of sweetness but seems to draw out the fruit notes inherent in the other ingredients. Nice anise and spice notes come forth from the amaro with an all together sublime wave of dried fruits and light botanicals. In this case the beer serves as a modifier and in such a pleasantly un-expectant way. A bold, yet very approachable drink that had a nice lingering feel of beer.
It wouldn’t be a theSpeakista MxMo entry unless it included at least two recipes and so this one will be no different. By my taste buds, the Happily Ever After is a nice little dram with several different waves of flavors bombarding the palate in rapid succession. In the case of our theme, beer is used in syrup form as a supporting character who’s part is to enhance the other key actors. In feeling a modicum of success in the above creation, we became embolden and set forth to tackle a drink that took beer and put it center stage
Recipe created (he thinks) by theSpeakista
• 2 oz high proof bourbon (Old Ezra 7-year bourbon)
• 1/2 oz cherry brandy
• 1/2 oz theSpeakista’s Stout-Syrup (see recipe above)
• 1/4 oz cane syrup
• ~4 oz Peak Brewing Organic Nut Brown Ale
Glass: ice cold Collins glass
Tools: mixing glass and tin, Hawthorne strainer and bar-spoon
Assembly: Combine all ingredients except the ale into the mixing glass and shake with ice for about 10 to 15 seconds. Strain into the serving glass that has several cubed ice cubes. Top with the ale and lightly blend with the bar-spoon.
The verdict: Having made the stout syrup, we were keen to see if we could use it again in another drink. As this syrup brings forth a nice wave of chocolate we thought about possible pairings — cherries work great; nuts and chocolate pair well; bourbon is nice with cherry and chocolate flavors … how then to incorporate? The Peak Brewing ale is very nice with a rich flavor and semi-viscous texture. We tweaked a bit on the proportions and settled on the above formulation. The drink is oddly refreshing. I found myself drinking it quickly the first time sampled. The bourbon pairs off well and supports the brandy expertly against the ale. Our little stout syrup does its magic again layering in sweetness and the chocolate notes we sought. A double dose of beer, in this case upfront and dominate and also supporting the frame work in the background.
Not a bad second effort young squire.
Wow I’m tired! It’s time for another drink and a rest. We hope that you enjoy the above recipes and be sure to get over to Fred’s site to check out all the other entries … Viva la Cervesa!