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.
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.