Much like a brewer and even a chef, a mixologist is both an artist and a scientist. Like a scientist, a mixologist must understand the chemistry of his ingredients. Like a painter, a mixologist must first conceptualize an idea in his mind, and then recreate it in a tangible form. The finest cocktails, like the finest artwork, convey vision and creativity and exude emotion and passion.
In this featured beer mixologist series we introduce you to the mysterious place between time and space where the dark secrets and inner workings of the brilliant minds driving the beer cocktail trend are revealed.
Today, we introduce you to David McCabe, one of BeerMixology.com’s rockstar contributors.
Do you work in the booze biz? If so, please describe your involvement?
Yes! I founded a restaurant called Punk’s Backyard Grill in Annapolis, MD, just outside of Washington, DC. It’s a contemporary version of the classic American backyard cookout. All the food is made from scratch and we have a rotating selection of nine drafts and 40 bottled beers, plus a varied and interesting cocktail program. I run the bar, among other things, on a day to day basis.
How did you get into beer mixology?
I was working on a signature cocktail for our bar at Punk’s, trying to combine hops and our house IPA, Draft Punk. I played for weeks with different ideas and realized that they were varied approaches that you can take to compliment the many different beer styles and flavor components. The final product was a hop muddled syrup, gin, lemon and IPA, but we’ll save the details for Beermixology.com later.
In your opinion, what uniqueness does beer, as an ingredient, bring to mixology?
Complexity and versatility are the first things that come to mind. Every beer has such a staggering array of flavor components and can bring great depth to a cocktail. In addition, there are tons of styles that provide the bartender with pairing options for lots of different spirits.
What is your favorite beer cocktail, of the moment?
Rye whiskey, Campari, lime, simple syrup and Victory Prima Pils.
Aside from Punk’s, the best beer cocktails are at
This is a tough one, there are so many good sites out there. I’d have to say The Mad Fermentationist – http://www.themadfermentationist.com/, Jeffrey Morgenthaler – http://www.jeffreymorgenthaler.com, and Belgian Beer and Travel – http://belgianbeerspecialist.blogspot.com/
If you were given a magic carpet that would take you on a bar crawl to three different bars, anywhere in the world, where would you go?
La Trappe Cafe in San Francisco, Mikkeller Bar in Denmark, and Monk’s Cafe in Philadephia.
Rye whiskey would definitely be the spirit, preferably Whistle Pig. My one beer would be Westmalle Tripel.
The Boulevardier. Classic, not overcomplicated, bitter yet quite approachable.
Danny Meyer of USHG. A discriminating palate, a successful businessman and a restaurateur through and through. That would get me the kind of feedback I would need. The drink would be muddled fresh hops, lemon, Ramazotti, grapefruit bitters and something malty like Aventinus.