This seductively spicy twist on the classic shandy comes to us from guest beer mixologist Derek Elefson of Cincinnati, OH.
Derek is a cocktail enthusiast at heart and flavored Alcoholic Beverage Trends expert. He is also the “Designr” of Flavored Beverages and the Director of Alcoholic Beverages at Givaudan.
Dereke’s “Naughty or Nice” beer cocktail balances honey weiss with hot chili pepper (naughty) and warm brown cinnamon notes (nice) with apple and maple for mid-ground balance. A perfect option for Fall or early Winter that is not pumpkin!!
Thanks to my awesome and ever-talented videographer, Chris Eldridge, some of my beer cocktail recipes have been turned into videos! My super cool co-host and partner in crime for this new and educational video series is Jerry James Stone — a social media rockstar, killer home chef and champion of sustainability (amongst many things).
This particular video is for the “Witty Gin Fizz” — a beer cocktail inspired by the classic gin fiz. In lieu of soda water, we chose to use a Belgian Wit style beer. The result is super tasty and oh-so-refreshing!
Brand new cocktail then, totally off the cuff, a bit of a collaboration really, myself and another member of staff dreamt it up but credit to Justin Rockitt refining the whole thing and making it work. We wanted to use a tripel as a foil/flipside to our really popular Brooklyn Baltic cocktail so we settled on that uber dry, crackingly bitter Westmalle Tripel. After much experimentaion we then went for a beefy navy rum, Pussers. It would work well with any navy rum really but make sure it has that savoury edge as that is the balance to the dryness of the beer.
This cocktail has a base in a classic. The Pimm’s Cup. This variation uses fresh citrus juice, Pimm’s No. 1 a bit of Demerara sugar and a wheat beer that lends it’s citrus qualities to this refreshing drink. I like Hitachino Nest White Ale, it has a touch of spice that goes nicely with Pimm’s and plenty of citrus. The other go to is my local NOLA Brewing Co. 7th Street Wheat, which also has great lemon notes.
I was recently challenged to make a Belgian Wit inspired beer cocktail for an upcoming event with Maui Brewing Company. When I think of pale malt beers that boast fruity, floral and slightly spicy esters — I always gravitate towards Gin. The botanical nature of gin is an excellent match for the lighter Belgian ales, such as wits and saisons.
The recipe inspiration came from the classic “Silver Fizz” — a gin based cocktail with lemon juice, sugar, egg whites and soda water. In an effort to add more flavor, I substituted the sugar with Elderflower syrup and the soda water with Maui Brewing’s La Perouse Belgian Wit-style Ale.
In order to incorporate more botanicals into the mix, I went with one of my favorite gins, St. George Spirits Botanivore. The result is a bright and refreshing, moderately tart and slight floral beer cocktail perfect for the hot spring and summer months. Continue Reading
When I first started constructing this cocktail, I had no idea it would be the first in a libation line up dedicated to my friends and their x-rated alter egos. If you aren’t familiar with this fun and hilarious game, this is how you name your character or alter ego: combine your first pet’s name and the name of the street where you grew up. Giving credit where credit is due, my comedian friend Garet Webb came up with the idea for the line up while helping me name this particular cocktail.
I chose Nolet’s Silver gin because of its incredible floral notes, and it is one of my personal favorite gins currently on the market. Nolet’s Silver has been distilled in The Netherlands for over 300 years. Historically, the Nolet family became famous for their distillate known as Ketel One.
When tasting this beautiful gin you will perceive Turkish rose, peaches, and berries, not only on your tongue, but also in your olfactory. There are also several other background botanicals that you will encounter, such as coriander and citrus peel.
Adding blackberries to this libation was a no brainer, but the rosemary was the particular ingredient that sealed the deal. Going against the grain of traditional gin cocktails, I chose lemon juice. Agave is the sweetener because of the binding abilities that this natural substance posses. The beer in this cocktail is a Belgian white called Blanche de Bruxelles. This is my favorite Belgian white, hands down. Since the beer and the spirit have similar ingredients, this cocktail goes down super smoothly and pairs well with spicy charcuterie or a shellfish dish. Continue Reading
This is my favorite beer cocktail of the moment. Hitachino Nest White Ale is one of my favorite beers. For starters, it tastes awesome. Secondly it is great to watch someone who only drinks mass-produced lagers try this and fall in love with this beer. It also has great flavors that can easily translate into a cocktail.
This beer cocktail was inspired by my bar’s version of a Dark and Stormy where we use a house-made ginger syrup instead of the usual canned ginger beer. There is also a close connection to a French 75 in this recipe. The Witbier works great because the spices in it work in harmony with the spicy ginger, and the citrus in the Combier and in the beer work make a delicious match. I think Cognac is partial to orange, and the Cherry Heering is a natural match. The Boston Bittahs add to the herbal quality and also lend a lightness to the general flavor profile.
Here is the recipe and a terrible picture. Continue Reading
Photo Credit: Mike Condie
One thing that truly differentiates beer and spirits from wine, apart from the obvious, is that both allow for the addition of non-traditional ingredients. Although there are style guidelines and “rules” for both beer and spirits, innovators in both industries tend to bend them, if not completely break them.
As with most artisan creations, cocktail recipes are often inspired by one specific ingredient, whether it be a particular brand of spirit of a specific beer. A Sazerac would not be a Sazerac without, yep you guessed it, Sazerac.
The Mad Botanist was inspired by Bison Brewing’s “Saison de Wench” — a Belgian-farmhouse style ale brewed with botanicals (rose, hibiscus, lemongrass & pink peppercorn), and St. George’s “Botanivore Gin” — an artisan spirit distilled with 19 different botanicals.
Belgian White beers are by far my favorite beer. I love the way they taste and are quite refreshing on a warm February day here in Southern California. Traditionally these beers are made with wheat and barley. So when constructing this cocktail I wanted to be able to highlight the flavor profile of not only the beer but the whiskey as well. Enter Makers Mark. The mash bill for Makers Mark has no rye in it; instead, they use red winter wheat and, of course corn. This combination gives the bourbon a different flavor that pairs exquisitely with Belgian White beers. I chose Blanche de Chambly as my Belgian White beer. It has spicy notes that blend quite well with the agave nectar in the cocktail.
February is the great month for cultivating desires and ironing out wishlists. In many parts of the world you’re sequestered indoors by inhospitable climate, watching the weather assault your windows. In Southern California we may be enjoying milder conditions but there is a lot of thumb twiddling and staying home as we plan the events of the year to come.
February has me checking flight costs, plotting routes, compiling itineraries, and jotting down restaurants I can’t wait to visit. Right now I’m yearning for moules frites and a dubbel in Antwerp, and prosciutto and cheese in Parma. Tell me you don’t want to spend the rest of your day dreaming of drinking your way through the Trappist Brouwerijen, or dining your way through Emilia-Romagna? I don’t want to dream it, I want to live it. For now, close your eyes, take a sip, and soak in the beer of Belgium and the bitters of Italy.