of carbon dioxide. In Denver, Euclid
Hall’s Cowboys and Indians cocktail
uses lemon juice (combined with Leop-
old New York Apple Whiskey, St. Eliza-
beth’s Allspice Dram and Odell IPA)
this way, for example. The bar’s “Beer
Bitch” Jessica Cann says she’s looking
forward to using apricots with an IPA
for one of their spring cocktails. Seger
feels grapefruit juice also works well
with IPAs this way as it complements
the beer’s hop aromas.
Cann says that at Euclid Hall they
always use draft beers for their cocktails;
otherwise you’re limited to recipes that
use an entire bottle each time, or risk
bottles going flat, driving up waste. That
can limit selection—many more unusual,
high-end beers are only available in 750s
or 22 oz. bombers. Seger’s answer is to of-
fer a beer “punch” that might serve 4-6
guests. “You build the cocktail base at bot-
tom of bowl, open a big bottle at the table
and pour it on top.” Alternatively, serve
it three ways: “You present the beer first,
then the cocktail without beer, and then
float rest of the beer on top. It’s about sell-
ing the experience.”
What do brewers think of all this?
Even Cann wonders if “beer cocktails
can be kind of an easy cop-out; beer’s
meant to be drunk the way it is.” At least
some brewers are receptive to the idea.
“My bottom line is that I don’t like to see
beer used as a novelty or a crutch, says
Garrett Oliver, Brewmaster at Brooklyn
brewery. “The beer should be expressed
in the drink and be an important ele-
ment in an overall harmonious flavor. If
you drink it and say to yourself, ‘That’s
okay, but it would be better if they used
something other than beer,’ that’s not a
cocktail, it’s a gimmick.”
In fact, that inspiration has proved
to be a two-way street: Oliver and cock-
tail expert Dave Wondrich recently col-
laborated on The Manhattan Project,
creating a barrel-aged, rye-based beer
with 15 botanicals that replicated the
taste of a Manhattan as a beer. “I find
cocktails inspirational because they are
about flavor and aroma combination,
and they go places that brewers don’t
always think of,” says Oliver. “Every
cocktail bar worth its salt will have a
small, tight beer list that shows the bar’s
quality of inspiration and thought.”
beer cocktails
“Beer + Flavor = Old & New”
As beer cocktails proliferate, and as flavored
iterations continue to pile up in various
spirits categories, this may be a good time
to reconsider the notion of flavor in beer.
Think of brews like Samuel Adams Summer
Ale, enlivened by lemon; wheat beers such
as Blue Moon, tinged with citrus and spice;
and, of course, Corona, practically synony-
mous with lime. Among the richest flavor
experiences one can find in beer are Belgian
fruit lambics, which resonate with peach,
cherry, strawberry or blackcurrants that were
included during fermentation. The
Shandy—beer mixed with lemonade,
citrus soda or ginger ale; also known
in Germany and Austria—is
another flavorful standby, available
in premixed versions but of course also
simple to whip up with a homespun twist at
bars. And come fall, it will be time to stock
pumpkin ales, as well as play up the apple
essence of hard ciders.
LEFT: Adam Seger,
Chicago mixologist and
founder of Balsam Spirits
RIGHT: At Euclid Hall in
Denver, the Cowboys
and Indians cocktail uses
lemon juice with Leopold
New York Apple Whiskey,
St. Elizabeth’s Allspice
Dram and Odell IPA.
Garrett Oliver,
brewmaster at
Brooklyn Brewery
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