A duo of beer cocktails

dutchdevil

With our “Brewing Up Cocktails” event successfully wrapped up at The Hop and Vine with co-conspirators Ezra Johnson-Greenough and Yetta Vorobik, I thought it’d be fun to go into the details on a couple of the drinks. These both use products from the Bols line and adapt popular cocktails for use with beer in place of the usual ingredients.

First up is the Dutch Devil, pictured up top in the flute. There were two inspirations for this drink. The first is the classic champagne cocktail, made with champagne, a sugar cube, and Angostura bitters. The second is Stephen Beaumont’s Green Devil, which deliciously mixes gin and Duvel Golden Ale with an absinthe rinse. This drink sort of combines the two, putting Duvel in place of sparkling wine and taking advantage of the malty notes in genever:

1 oz Bols Genever
1 Angostura-soaked sugar cube
Duvel

Build in a flute. We were serving these with the sugar cube added first, but the cocktail science article I linked to this morning suggests that adding it last might be a better way. At The Hop and Vine, this drink is now on the menu with a candied ginger garnish.

The second drink is a variation of the Bramble, a lovely cocktail created by London bartender Dick Bradsell. It’s made by mixing gin, lemon, and simple syrup in crushed ice, then topping it with blackberry liqueur and fresh berries. Our idea for this one was to take out the lemon and simple syrup and replace them with a sour ale. But which beer to use? Ezra likes it with the Cantillon Gueuze. My preference is the Bruery’s Hottenroth Berliner Weisse. Berliner Weisse is a tart style of wheat beer native to Germany, where it’s often served with raspberry or woodruff syrup. I like the way it balances this drink and the way the final addition of blackberry liqueur mirrors the way it’s traditionally served:

3/4 oz Damrak Gin
Bruery Hottenroth
3/4 oz Clear Creek blackberry liqueur

Build the first two ingredients in an ice-filled rocks glass, top with the liqueur, garnish with fresh blueberries, and enjoy.

For notes on the rest of the drinks featured at the event, check out Hoke Harden’s write-up for the Examiner.

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Bols at the NW Spirits and Mixology Show

boulevardier

If you’re in Portland today, consider stopping by the inaugural Northwest Spirits and Mixology Show at the Jupiter Hotel. Admission is free with proof of hospitality industry affiliation, otherwise $10 with registration here. The show is industry only from 12-4 and open to everyone from 4-7.

The Oregon Bartenders Guild is contributing to the show with a few mixology demos. I’m working the “classic to contemporary” slot, tweaking a classic cocktail. I’ll be making and serving a Bols Boulevardier:

1.5 oz Bols Genever
1 oz Campari
1 oz sweet vermouth

Stir, serve up with a cherry or orange twist. This drink is traditionally made with bourbon, so I’ll be using Bols to tie it into the trend toward white whiskeys (Bols is made from about 50% malt wine, an unaged grain distillate). This has been one of my favorite genever cocktails to order when I’m out at bars that are still developing their own drinks; the ingredients are widely available, it’s easy to make, and it’s really tasty. My demo is slated at 5:25 and I’ll be sampling the cocktail from the OBG booth for sometime before.

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From the mouths of monopolists

From an op/ed by an Oregon liquor store agent on why we shouldn’t privatize liquor sales:

A net revenue of $163.5 million (fiscal 2008-2009) just from liquor sales was returned to the citizens of Oregon. What retail business can generate net profit revenues of 40 percent of sales? I’d sure like to invest in such a company. Even a wildly successful company like Apple posted only a 19.9 percent net profit margin for 2009, which is far less than what OLCC liquor revenue generated for Oregonians.

And in the same article:

If the citizens of Oregon think that getting the state out of liquor distribution and retailing will reduce the price of alcohol at the checkout counter, think again. I’ve compared retail prices in California and Arizona to ours in Oregon, and except for the best-sellers (less than 10 percent of the inventory) the prices are the same or higher in those states.

So his arguments are that 1) monopoly liquor distribution yields enormous excess profits for the state and 2) introducing competition will increase prices for consumers. If this is the best the anti-privatization side can come up with, I think it’s safe to say the pro-privatization side wins the economic argument.

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Two quick links

OK, one quick post from Tales with a couple links. I’m at the Washington Examiner today with a post about why the FDA’s menthol hearings are asking the wrong questions. Then at the Portland Examiner, Hoke Harden has a great (and way too flattering!) write-up of the Brewing Up Cocktails event. If you’re curious about the drinks we served, go check it out.

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New Orleans bound

I’m headed out to New Orleans this morning for a return trip to Tales of the Cocktail along with the rest of the Bols team. Obviously this isn’t the most conducive environment to blogging — not the sort of blogging for which I’d to be remembered anyway — so this may be the last post of the week. I’ll be twittering while there though, and if you’re also in town for Tales let’s be sure to grab a drink at the Carousel bar.

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In search of the Rouge Gorge

erithacusrubeculaTwo of the most recent spirits to arrive here for sampling are the Floraison and Nouaison gins from G’Vine. These are distilled in France from Ugni Blanc grapes, the same grape commonly in use for distilling Cognac. The spirit is infused with grape flowers and other traditional gin botanicals before undergoing a final distillation. My preference is for the Nouaison, which is flavored with lime. However this post isn’t so much about the gins as it is about an unusual cocktail I came across while experimenting with them.

Credit for pointing me toward this drink goes to my friend Paul Willenberg. While tasting the G’Vine gins with me he remembered a drink he enjoyed in France called a Rouge Gorge, possibly named after the little bird pictured up top. Paul says he had it as an aperitif at Levernois. One of the only mentions of it I can find online is this:

Rouge Gorge: You Know You Want One

The place to drink this in Paris is the wonderful Alsatian restaurant “Aux Deux Canards” – try it with the pan fried fois gras.

Rouge Gorge – The recipe:

8 parts Cotes du Rhone, 5 parts good quality gin – Tanqueray or Hendricks, 3 parts Crème de Mure. Mix well, and serve slightly chilled in a brandy glass.

The combination sounds strange, but the perfume of the gin combines with the violet aromas of the Rhone wine and the fruitiness of the Crème de Mure to create an absolutely bewitching – and lethal – cocktail.

OK, this does sound strange. And it is strange. But it’s not totally off the wall. The original Martinez featured a 2:1 ratio of sweet vermouth and gin, further sweetened with a little maraschino liqueur. Though contemporary palates tend toward a flipped ratio, this isn’t that far removed from drinks served in the Golden Age of cocktails.

Still, the recipe above is a little sweet. Cutting down the blackberry liqueur brings out more of the gin. Here are the proportions I’ve settled into:

2 oz chilled Côtes du Rhône (Domaine “La Garrique” at Paul’s suggestion)
1 oz gin (G’Vine Nouaison)
.5 oz blackberry liqueur (Clear Creek)

I think the best word to describe this drink is “beguiling.” You take a sip, and you’re not quite sure what to make of it, and so you sip again. It’s better than you think it would be, and difficult to wrap your head around the flavors.

It’s a weird drink; I’m still trying to figure it out myself. Should it be enjoyed before dinner as an aperitif? After with cheese and bread? Where did it come from, and can I order one at a French bar with any reasonable expectation of the bartender knowing what I’m talking about? Googling has yet to reveal the answers, but if anyone else has experience with this unusual drink I would love to hear about it.

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