Jeffery Lindenmuth / October 2008
As early as the 18th century, Englishmen tossed back the refreshing shandygaff, a mix of ginger beer and ale. In cooler weather, wassail--spiced and sweetened warmed ale stoked with roasted apples--prevailed. However, the most enduring beer blend remains the Victorian-era Black Velvet, a vexingly delicious concoction of Guinness and Champagne, reputedly created in 1861 to mark the death of Albert, the Prince Consort of Queen Victoria.
Following in the footsteps of the blue-collar boilermaker, a beer supercharged with a shot of whiskey, creative mixologists are now combining beer with spirits, liqueurs, and syrups. Still doubtful that mixing beer is mainstream? Anheuser-Busch recently introduced a prepackaged Chelada, a mixture of Budweiser and Clamato based on the Mexican Michelada, a cerveza preparada traditionally made by blending beer with lime, hot sauce, and Worcestershire or Maggi Seasoning.
New York City
A beer twist on the French kir.
• 1 oz. Dubonnet Rouge
• 1/4 oz. Jules Theuriet Crème de Cassis de Dijon
• 6 oz. Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Local
• lemon twist
- Add Dubonnet and cassis to a mixing glass, fill with ice, and stir; strain into a white wine glass. Top off with beer and garnish with lemon twist.
An upscale twist on the refreshing Hop, Skip, and Go Naked.
• 3/4 oz. Bombay Sapphire gin
• 3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
• 1 splash simple syrup
• 10 oz. North Coast Brewing Co. ACME California Pale Ale
- In a pilsner glass combine gin, lime juice, and simple syrup. Top off with pale ale.
The Stanton Social
New York CIty
The flute is a more recent introduction, but this classic beer blend dates back over a century.
• 3.5 oz. Gaston Chiquet Brut Champagne
• 3 oz. Guinness Extra Stout
- In a Champagne flute, add the Champagne, then top with the stout.
Combines like flavors of malt and smoke by using both beer and whiskey.
• 2 oz. Rogue Smoke ale
• 2 oz. Lambrusco
• 3/4 oz. Ardbeg 10-Year Single-Malt Scotch
• 3/4 oz. cold smoked water
• 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier
• 1/4 oz. BarrManDan's sour mix
• 1/2 tsp. aged balsamic syrup
• splash of cola
• barbecue spice rub
Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously.
Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice and rimmed with barbecue spice rub. To make smoked water: Place ice cubes in a smoker and melt over cherrywood smoke.
New York City
Inspired by the French 75, but using a Pennsylvania microbrew in place of Champagne.
• 1 oz. Bluecoat gin
• 1 oz. fresh lime juice
• 1 oz. ginger simple syrup
• 6 oz. Victory Prima Pils
Combine gin, lime juice, and ginger simple syrup in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a pilsner glass.
Top with beer.
For ginger simple syrup: Cut 1/2 lb. ginger against the grain into 1/4" slices. Combine with 1 pt. simple syrup in a blender and puree. Separate pulp from syrup, using a fine mesh strainer. Makes 1 pt. syrup, enough for 16 cocktails.