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beer in cocktails?

Paul Clarke (who blogs at The Cocktail Chronicles) wrote a Friday drinks article in the San Francisco Chronicle on the inclusion of beer in cocktails. This is on the use of beer as a cocktail component in its own right, not a reduction1 or a chaser. The most telling passage is this paraphrased statement from Eben Freeman2, “just as Champagne lends a way to add effervescence to a drink without watering it down3, beer contributes many of the same properties, with the added benefit of a world of new flavor options”.

Paul described Eben’s Blood and Sand variation, which includes the Belgian cherry lambic Echt Kriek. Based on little information other than the substitute of kriek for Cherry Herring, I decided to try it4. The result was a beautiful long drink that had all of the flavor of the cocktail.

something inspired by reports of Eben Freeman’s Blood and Sand variant with Echt Kriek
In a shaker over ice, pour
¾oz Bowmore 12yo single malt Scotch whisky5,
¾oz Carpano Antica,
¾oz orange juice.
Shake, strain into a tall (8oz) glass.
Top with 4oz Echt Kriek.
Garnish with an orange twist.

The cherry lambic reaches out to the smoky peat from the scotch while while riding the richness of the orange juice and sweet vermouth. The sour flavors meld with the orange juice and vermouth, creating an enticing tanginess. And using the kriek extends those flavors into a tall drink (nearly 7 ounces) without diminishing their intensity.

Once the weather turns more towards summer, increasing the Scotch, orange juice, and vermouth to 1oz each and serving over crushed ice would transform this into an appropriate drink to fill a tiki mug for those who tend to avoid rum.

This is a great avenue for experimentation.

1. I do enjoy the reduction method that Jamie Boudreau suggests and have applied it to framboise.
2. Eben Freeman is the bar manager of Tailor, in NYC. Also he demonstrates the Hard Shake this short video from New York Magazine.
3. In the Nov/Dec 2008 issue of Imbibe Magazine, there was also the suggestion from Ted Kilgore that Champagne be used to top up a Jasmine.
4. I’ve read that at Tailor, they put an orange juice foam over the top of this drink, thereby imitating or extending the head of the ale. I did not go through the effort of making a foam from CO2-charged clarified orange juice and gelatin. Maybe next time.
5. It’s been much too long since I’d last stocked my Scotch whisky shelf— it’s down to two bottles: this Bowmore 12yo and a Caperdonich 33yo. Lately when wanting a dram, I’ve reached for McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt.