I found a path less traveled in Beerlandia recently. It began with a muddled slice of orange, Angostura bitters, a Bordeaux cherry and a tablespoon of cherry juice instead of sugar. The aromas began wafting their magic as I stirred in 1 ounce of rye whiskey. In order to make a whiskey old fashioned, ice cubes and soda water ought to have come next, but that wasn’t the plan. Instead, I poured half a can of cold pale ale into the glass. With one swift stir of the bar spoon, I entered the esoteric world of beer cocktails.
With one swift stir of the bar spoon, I entered the esoteric world of beer cocktails.
The idea of mixing beer with spirits was anathema to me until I realized I was just being a stodgy beer snob. Then I spoke with Portland bartender, consultant and writer Jacob Grier, who literally wrote the book on beer cocktails. As I flipped through the pages of Grier’s book, Cocktails on Tap, I began considering beer as a set of flavor profiles that could lend themselves to other beverages as well as food. Moreover, with the quality coming out of Oregon today, beer can actually improve our drinks. “It’s a way of taking a cocktail and just giving it a little something extra by shaking the beer into it,” Grier said.
While Oregon beer and spirits suppliers vie for their pieces of the consumer pie, we shouldn’t be afraid to take some creative liberties of our own. If we consider the unique flavors of a saison in a gin rickey, or a tropical IPA in a mai tai, our world can only expand. After all, Oregon beer offers every opportunity of flavor and texture to create something truly sublime and transcendent.
1 mild ale or American pale ale
1 ounce high-proof rum
Preheat the beer to 140 degrees, about the temperature of a child’s hot cocoa. Fill a mug with hot water, then dump it out. Coat the inside with sugar. Add rum, and set the rum aflame, rotating the mug to caramelize sugar. Extinguish the flame by pouring the warm beer into the mug.
1½ ounces IPA
1 ounce white rum
1 ounce fresh lime juice
¾ ounce orgeat (almond) syrup
½ ounce orange curaçao
1 ounce dark rum
Pour IPA, white and dark rum, lime juice, syrup and curaçao into a mixing glass with ice and shake. Strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with a cherry and a little umbrella.
1½ ounces gin
Juice from ½ lemon
¼ ounce chartreuse
4 ounces saison
Fill a highball glass with ice. Add ingredients and stir. Garnish with squeezed lemon half.
Recipes courtesy Cocktails on Tap