The Bee Sting Shandy

Although some might argue otherwise, the term shandy typically refers to a drink consisting of beer mixed with citrus-flavored soda, carbonated lemonade, ginger beer, ginger ale, or cider. The proportions normally half-and-half, but can vary depending on the ingredients.

The most popular shandy is cider blended with beer, equal parts each, also known as a Snakebite.

But considering the entire spectrum of beer and all the new flavors of ciders being produced, it would be silly to call all beer and cider blends snakebites. This particular shandy is not actually my own handiwork, but the brainchild of Bison Brewing and Ace Cider, who partnered up for a beer & cider event recently. This particular blend was my favorite…

The Bee Sting

  • 8. oz Bison Organic IPA
  • 8 oz. Ace Honey Cider

Technique is key here. Although both beverages are similar in color, it is possible to float the beer on the cider. First, fill a pint glass with half cider. Then take a large soup spoon and, holding it slightly inside the glass, slowly pour the beer over the back of the spoon into the glass, focusing on pouring the beer on the middle of the spoon.

The Cervezarita

Although there are no official rules for beer mixology, some spirits pair extraordinary well with certain styles of beer. Case and point: American India Pale Ale + tequila.

More commonly referred to as IPA, the India Pale Ale is a hop forward style originally developed for export from England to India. The antiseptic nature of hops makes it a natural preservative, which helped enhance the self-like of the beer as it endured the long boat voyage around the continent of Africa.

Although conceptually similar to their English cousins, American IPAs are characterized by the use of American hops, which yield aromas of citrus, pine and resin. They boast medium-high to very high hop bitterness, very light malt character, significant carbonation and a dry finish.

And this brings us to tequila.When it comes to buying tequila, products with 100% agave are by far the most preferred and highest quality on the market. Un-aged (aka Blanco) tequila is known for being floral, citrusy, and slightly bitter — making directly complimentary to the American IPA.

For beer cocktails, I almost always prefer using Reposado tequila, which is Blanco tequila that has been aged in wooden casks for at least two months, but sometimes as long as one year. In my opinion, the oak softens the abrasive nature of the spirit, adding much desired hints of vanilla and fruit, such as pear and melon.

The inspiration for this particular cocktail comes from “The Margarita” — quite possibly the most famous tequila based drink in the world. Instead of using sour mix, which I loathe more than anything, this cocktail was formulated using only fresh, raw and well-crafted ingredients — and I do not recommend substitution. This particular preparation calls for “rocks” but it can also be served up.

The Cervezarita

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz. Reposado Tequila
  • .5 oz. Gran Marnier
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • .25 oz. agave nectar
  • 3 oz. American IPA
  • lime wedge

Instructions

Fill rocks glass to the top with ice. Pour tequila, Gran Marnier, lime juice, agave nectar over ice. Add to shaker, shake lightly and pour all ingredients back into rocks glass. Top with IPA, give a quick stir, and garnish with lime wedge.

Featured Beer Mixologist: Nicole Barker

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 Nicole Barker, one of BeerMixology.com’s rockstar contributors.

Nicole Barker

Reno, NV
Bartender at Cin Cin at Eldorado
Author of The Bartendrex blog

Do you work in the booze biz? If so, please describe your involvement?
I am the president of the Reno Usbg Chapter so I spend a lot of time meeting bartenders and planning events. You can always find me in the mix of the craft beer and cocktail scene here in Reno. I love bartending, creating new cocktails, traveling, entering competitions, drinking and networking.

How did you get into beer mixology?
A natural love of drinking leads you to the most interesting places and discoveries… Beer mixology is no different. I love the endless combinations and possibilities found within the blending of spirits & beer.

In your opinion, what uniqueness does beer, as an ingredient, bring to mixology?
Beer offers a stunning variety of flavor components as well as a unique texture to the structure of cocktails. The light carbonation and deep floral undertones really offer something new to the scene.

What is your favorite beer cocktail, of the moment?
The Dark Knight… Bourbon & Beer, does it get any better?

For anyone visiting your city looking for a kickass beer cocktail, where would you send them?
There are some great craft beer spots here in Reno and beer cocktails are an up and coming phenomena. You can of coarse visit me at CinCin or try your hand at Reno Public House or Zephyr Lounge.

What are your 3 favorite booze websites/ blogs?
Www.liquor.com
www.jeffreymorgenthaler.com
Www.usbg.org

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?
Clyde Common in Portland
The Ritz in Paris
Milk & Honey in New York

If you were stuck on a desert island with an unlimited supply of only one beer and one spirit, which of each would you choose to be stranded with?
Well being that it is a desert island and not some freezing floating iceberg, I will have to say Leopold’s Gin and Duvel. I would hopefully be able to muddle up some cacti or desert tortoise for some extra flavor components.

If you were a classic cocktail, what would you be and why?
Definitely a Manhattan, sophisticated and a little rough a tumble, smooth around the edges, and packing a punch to knock you on your ass by the end of the night.

If you could design a beer cocktail for anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would you make it for and what would you make?
I’m going to go with Chuck Norris and I would make him the Dark Knight and maybe float it with some 151 for a nice round house kick to the face.

Mail Order Bride

For a recent beer event, I was challenged to develop a beer cocktail using a Baltic Porter. Unique for its ability to be brewed with both lager and ale yeast, the Baltic Porter was originally developed as an export version of the English Porter destined for the Baltic Sea ports.

Inspired by the beer’s heritage, I decided to follow a “Baltic” theme. Naturally, vodka was the first spirit to come to mind. While doing research, I found that the blackcurrant is native to Northern Europe. In fact, Poland, Russia and Germany are the largest producers of the blackcurrant. (Source: AgroAtlas). Known most commonly for its use in the “Kir” and “Kir Royale” cocktails, Creme de Cassis ia a sweet, dark red liqueur produced from blackcurrants. As with most liqueurs, it is available in both commercial and artisan forms — and is also quite simple to make, if you have access to black currants.

As a result of it’s lofty alcohol content, the Baltic Porter is often described as being vinous and Port-like, making it a natural pair for darker fruits and berries. Although the flavor is lost in the background of the cocktail, the vodka slightly lightens the body of the drink, while adding a bit of an alcohol boost. Flavors of dark chocolate, dark fruit and an orange essence from the bitters dominate the flavor, giving the cocktail a dessert-like appeal.

Mail Order Bride

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. Vodka
  • 1 oz. Creme de Cassis
  • 3 oz. Baltic Porter
  • 3 dashes Orange Bitters
  • Optional orange peel garnish

Instructions

Shake all of the ingredients with ice, strain into a brandy snifter and garnish with an orange peel.

The Perfect Storm

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.

The Perfect Storm

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz Pierre Ferrande 1840 Cognac (higher proof, touch sweeter than Ambre, better for mixing)
  • .5 oz fresh lemon juice
  • .5 oz Ginger syrup (recipe below)
  • .25 oz fresh lime juice
  • .25 oz Combier Orange liquer (Cointreau works as well)
  • 1 dash Bittermens Boston Bittahs
  • 4 oz. Hitachino Nest White Ale
  • .5 oz. Cherry Heering

Instructions

Shake Cognac, lemon & lime juice, ginger syrup, Combier and bitters, strain over fresh ice into a Collins glass. Top with 3-4 oz of Hitachino Nest White Ale. Float or drizzle ~.5 oz Cherry Heering to taste and for visual appeal.

Drink, Repeat

Ginger Syrup recipe

  • Peel ginger
  • chop and place in juice extractor
  • mix ginger juice with a rich (2:1) simple syrup in a 1:1 ratio
  • store cold

Featured Beer Mixologist: Angelo De Ieso

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 Angelo De Ieso, one of BeerMixology.com’s rockstar contributors.

Angelo De Ieso

Do you work in the booze biz? If so, please describe your involvement?

I am an event coordinator, keg wrangler, and a bartender at By The Bottle in Vancouver, WA

How did you get into beer mixology?

The love of my life, Ashley Routson got me into it. I like to blend teas, herbs, and spices and this seems to right up my alley

In your opinion, what uniqueness does beer, as an ingredient, bring to mixology?

I think every ingredient is unique, but what I like about beer is its body, mouthfeel, and the balance of sweeter maltiness and crisp and floral hops bitterness

What is your favorite beer cocktail, of the moment?

Bloody Beerys

For anyone visiting your city looking for a kickass beer cocktail, where would you send them?

I’d probably send them to Circa 33, Interurban, the Grain & Gristle, or Beaker and Flask

What are your 3 favorite booze websites/ blogs?

BeerMixology.com, JacobGrier.com, and BeerAndWhiskeyBros.com are three of my faves

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?

I’d hit up Beale Street Taproom in Memphis, Pat O’Brien’s on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, and Vodka Bar in Moscow, Russia

If you were stuck on a desert island with an unlimited supply of only one beer and one spirit, which of each would you choose to be stranded with?

Probably a nice lager beer such as Perla Chiemlowa from Poland or DAB Dortmunder from Germany and a nice vodka

If you were a classic cocktail, what would you be and why?

A Bloody Mary because it is fitting for any time of day and it is nutritious.

If you could design a beer cocktail for anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would you make it for and what would you make?

I would make a cocktail for Paul Revere. It would be called Midnight Run and would feature a dark lager, a hoppy light lager, a splash of dry cider and a bit of whiskey

The St. George S’More

During San Francisco Beer Week, I partnered with the awesome people over at St. George Spirits on two beer cocktail events. On of the events was “The Unbirthday Beer Cocktail Party” — which featured three different cocktails using Bison Organic Beer and St. George Spirits.

Also known as the Vodka Vixen, Andie Ferman, the tasting room manager at St. George, whipped up a flip-style cocktail using Bison’s Chocolate Stout and Qi Black Tea Liqueur, a seductive spirit craft-distilled from rare fruits, exotic spices, wildflower honey, and cedar-smoked tea. The end result is a sweet and creamy beverage with hint of cocoa, spice, and smoke. It will most definitely leave you wanting s’more.

The St. George S’More

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz. Bison Chocolate Stout
  • 1.5 oz. Qi Black Tea Liqueur
  • .25 oz. egg whites
  • .25 oz. vanilla simple syrup

Instructions

All all ingredients to a pint glass, shake with ice until egg whites emulsify, and strain into a coup or martini glass. Garnish with a marshmellow stuffed with a piece of chocolate and graham crackers.

The Mad Botanist

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.

To compliment and enhance the floral and herbal characteristics in the beer, I chose to prepare the cocktail with a housemade hibiscus syrup and rose tincture. The result is a bright pink, slightly tart, and extremely aromatic cocktail.

The Mad Botanist

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz. St. George Botanivore Gin
  • .25 oz fresh lemon juice
  • .25 oz hibiscus simple syrup
  • 2 oz. Saison de Wench
  • 3 drops rose tincture
  • rose petal garnish

Instructions

Add gin, lemon and hibiscus to shaker. Shake with ice, strain into champagne flute. Top with beer and 3 drops of rose tincture. Garnish with a rose petal.

————————–

Hibiscus Syrup

  • 2 oz dried hibiscus flowers (in tea bag/ cheesecloth)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar

Bring water to a boil. Reduce temperature and steep hibiscus for 7 minutes. Remove tea bag, bring water back to a boil. Add sugar slowly, stirring vigorously. Bring temperature down. Simmer two minutes, remove from heat and chill completely.

————————–

Rose Tincture

  • 1 oz. dried rose petals (red or pink)
  • 3/4 cup Everclear (or vodka)

Steep the rose petals in a tea bag in the Everclear for 3-4 weeks. Remove, squeezing out the liquid from the tea bag, and put into a dropper bottle.

The Belgian Carnivale

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.

As I stated in the last post, living in Southern California gives me a chance to work with produce from all over the world. One of my preferred fruits in season right now is the cherimoya.  The ones I use are from South America. Mark Twain called the cherimoya “the most delicious fruit know to man.” It is white in color and has an almost sherbet-like texture inside.

Building this cocktail can be a little taxing, because of the cherimoya. No muddling is needed because of the fruits softer texture. Lemon juice provides the citrus boost to balance out this libation.  When building: put all ingredients in the tin and then shake vigorously with ice. Double strain the cocktail with a Hawthorne and a chinois strainer.  Garnish with the skin of the cherimoya.

The Belgian Carnivale

2 oz Makers Mark

1 oz lemon juice

¾ oz agave nectar

¼ of Cherimoya

2 oz Blanche de Chambly

Featured Beer Mixologist: Dennis Schafer

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 Dennis Schafer, one of BeerMixology.com’s rockstar contributors.

Dennis Schafer

Do you work in the booze biz? If so, please describe your involvement?

Yes. I currently  bartend at the Bayou Oyster Bar, a small bar that focuses on classic style cocktails.  In addition, I also teach spirit history/tasting classes and write about beverage related topics on my blog.

How did you get into beer mixology?

I love cocktails and I love beer. It was a natural progression to try and mate the two.

In your opinion, what uniqueness does beer, as an ingredient, bring to mixology?

Beer brings a whole new range of flavors and aromas to cocktails. Most beers are also well balanced, which lends well to mixing. In my opinion, there is less worry of throwing a drink completely out of balance playing around with beer as opposed to some other ingredients.

What is your favorite beer cocktail, of the moment?

I call it “In Flanders Field”. It is essentially a French 75 with a really good Belgian Tripel standing in for the Champagne.

For anyone visiting your city looking for a kickass beer cocktail, where would you send them?

That’s a good question. There really aren’t that many bars doing beer cocktails at the moment. We do have them at the Bayou Oyster Bar, but we only have 4 beers on tap so our creativity is limited. Other than that, we do have a fantastic pub (The Copper Hog), and the day bartender there has the chops to whip up some great beer cocktails.

What are your 3 favorite booze websites/ blogs?

Narrowing it down to just three is pretty hard. Five years ago I would have said cocktailchronicles.com, jeffreymorgenthaler.com, and spiritsandcocktails.com, as those are the ones that really influenced my style and attitude towards bartending, but the number of great sites out there  just keeps growing.  12bottlebar is one of the best resources for home bartenders.

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?

That is a tough choice. There are so many fantastic bars across the US and around the world.  If I was forced to choose, I would go with the Merchant Hotel Bar in Belfast, Bar Uncommon in New Orleans, and 69 Colebrooke Row in London. 

If you were stuck on a desert island with an unlimited supply of only one beer and one spirit, which of each would you choose to be stranded with?  Rum for sure; without a doubt that is my favorite spirit. Rum is versatile across all seasons and styles of cocktails, and there are so many different types of Rum. Beer is a more difficult choice. I love almost all Belgian beers, but if I had to pick just one, I would go with Mort Subite Blanche Lambic.

If you were a classic cocktail, what would you be and why?

A Manhattan or a Sazerac.  Classic and elegant.

If you could design a beer cocktail for anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would you make it for and what would you make?

Henry Ramos.  The Ramos Gin Fizz is probably my all-time favorite drink, and the way that he ran his bar really speaks to his love of both cocktails and his spirit of hospitality.  As for what I would make him, I haven’t quite thought of anything good enough yet.