I’m a bit of an Anglophile. I like the empire and all of its trappings, especially with the boozing and the wenching and more boozing. It gave us things like the gin and tonic – actually anything and tonic, IPAs, and naval strength spirits. The Victorian Era saw a whole proliferation of beer cocktails. Many of them made possible by the reach of both the commercial and colonial empire that reached its zenith during this time.
Spices and sugar from around the world, spirits and wines imported from all over Europe, and industrialization bringing luxuries into the reach of more and more people of all classes. Right in the middle of this era was Charles Dickens. He imbued many of his novels with wonderful descriptions of the indulgences at table and bottle, using them to help set the scene and illustrate the atmosphere.
If you were to carefully read all of his books you could collect all of the drinks and track them down and see what they were drinking. Thankfully, Dickens’s great grandson Cedric Dickens had done us the favour of collecting them for us in a book called “Drinking With Dickens.” It’s been fun going through it and picking out some beer cocktails from his great grandfathers’ era to play with. The first two to catch my eye were the Dog’s Nose and the Champagne Velvet. Continue Reading
Sometimes just adding beer to something makes it immediately better, brats, batter, sports, bbqing, bad movies, and margaritas. Yes, margarita’s. Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you the Marga-veza. Invented by my friend Keith Waldbauer back when he was at Barrio in Seattle. It was a pure stroke of genius. How often on a beautiful sunny day while sitting on a patio do you find yourself trying to decide between a nice cold beer and a margarita? It’s a question that can drive you mad as you debate the merits of each. You could look like a lush and order both, you could make yourself choose one over the other, or you could just make life easy for yourself and just combine them both into one tasty and really big drink.
I travel a lot for various brands. In the course of that travel I drink a lot of cocktails, spirits, wine, and beer. The thing is after several days in a row of rolling hard and being crazy what I really want is something light easy and refreshing. This is also pretty much true of any time I’m in New Orleans. To me there’s not a whole lot more refreshing and also hangover curative in a really gentle way than a shandy. It’s really hard to screw up a shandy. (Caveat – RTD shandies should be banned from the face of the earth, they are an abomination before any god you care to name.)