Mixology Monday: Inversion

Hopped Up Nui Nui -- traditional recipe + 1 oz IPA.

It’s a good thing Mixology Monday has been revived or I might not have posted a new cocktail at all this month. The theme for February is “Inverted.” Host Putney Farm explains:

A while ago, while researching Julia Child’s recipes, we noticed that she was well-known for enjoying “upside-down” or “inverted” Martini’s (God bless her). This is a version of the classic cocktail that swaps the ratios of gin and vermouth, turning the Martini into something of a “long drink”. And if you are cooking for hours at a time (or gardening with a cocktail- something we highly recommend), the Inverted Martini is a very tasty drink.

We wondered if we could apply the same “inverted” approach to Mixology Monday and, at first, didn’t think it would work. But then we asked ourselves, what does “inverted” really mean? Well, here is the definition:
-
To turn inside out or upside down
To reverse the position, order, or condition of
-

Hmm…it appears that the definition is pretty broad. It seems that “inverted” really just means something “flipped on its head”. And that can mean almost anything, and leaves plenty of room for creativity. So we are going with the “inverted” theme. You can invert the ratios of spirits, liqueurs or bitters in a cocktail, but we suggest you go beyond that and “invert” whatever you want. Spirits, name, ingredients, proof, color, geography, garnish and glassware are all fair game. An apéritif made with Navy-Strength booze? Give it a try. A beer-based cocktail that tastes like champagne? Sure. A clear Manhattan? Worth a shot (and good luck with that). The only thing we expect is the unexpected. Have fun.

No ideas were springing to mind for this one, so I mentioned the prompt to my fellow bartender at Metrovino, Kj DeBoer. He came up with the solution in no time. Deschutes Brewery, he noted, makes a beer called Inversion IPA. Brilliant! I could “invert” a drink by adding Inversion IPA to it.

But which drink to choose? I thought immediately of tiki cocktails, which I view as prime candidates for the addition of beer. Tiki drinks are characterized by their use of rum, fruit, and big, spicy flavors. I like them, but I can usually only do about one per night before I’m ready to move on to drinks with more bitter elements. Hoppy beers are a great way to add bitterness to tiki drinks: They give the drinks backbone, hops play well with citrus, and shaking beer with the other ingredients makes for a frothy head, creating a velvety mouthfeel.

For this Mixology Monday, I decided to try adding Inversion IPA to the Nui Nui cocktail. This is one of the tiki drinks I gravitate to when it’s on the menu, offering bold, spicy flavors. Beachbum Berry credits it to Donn the Beachcomber’s Mandalay Bar at the Colonel’s Plantation Beefsteak House in Hawaii, circa 1958. My only addition is the beer, and I shake it rather than blend it.

2 oz amber rum
1 oz IPA
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz orange juice
1/4 oz cinnamon syrup
1/4 oz Donn’s Spices #2
1 dash Angostura bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with an orange peel or cherries.

You can make your own syrups, but I’m lazy and live in Portland so I use those commercially available from B. G. Reynolds. For the rum I used El Dorado eight year, which may be overkill and isn’t traditional, but it sure is good. Feel free to substitute other IPAs if not constrained by a Mixology Monday theme.

Et tu, BrewDog?

Politicians in the UK are pushing for a minimum price for alcohol that would increase the cost of cheaper products while leaving high-end alcohol unaffected. According to the website Scottish Grocer, they’ve found an unlikely ally: the craft brewers at BrewDog.

This is the same brewery that made a 1.1% abv beer called “Nanny State” in mocking response to critics of their high-alcohol brews, so it’s a bit of a disappointment to see this coming from them. It’s another story to file under brewers behaving badly.

For a contrary view on minimum pricing, see Chris Snowdon.

Aquavit Week at Metrovino

Aquavit Week coming to Metrovino!

I’ve been making the case for a while that aquavit is an underrated spirit. Many bars don’t carry it at all, and those that do usually only have one bottle. But with more American distillers trying their hands at this traditionally Scandinavian spirit, we decided it was time to host an Aquavit Week at Metrovino.

Aquavit Week kicks off Tuesday, December 11 with an all-aquavit cocktail menu and an aquavit-inspired beer from Breakside Brewing. The cocktail menu will have six cocktails featuring six different aquavits: Krostad Festlig and Gamle (Portland), Bull Run’s forthcoming Regnig Dag aquavit (Portland), North Shore (Chicago), Sound Spirits (Seattle), and Linie (Norway). To show off aquavit’s versatility in mixing, the cocktails range from spirit-forward to citrusy, from sparkling wine to a Hot Toddy. We’ll also have chef Dustin See’s house cured gravlax on hand to pair with the drinks. The cocktails and food will be available all week.

The beer is a fun project that brewmaster Ben Edmunds invited me to collaborate with him on at Breakside Brewing. New Nordic Porter is inspired by the flavors of aquavit and cutting edge Nordic cuisine. It’s a classic porter flavored with caraway, dill and fennel pollens, and a hint of plum. It’s on tap at Metrovino this Tuesday only and at the Breakside brewpub.

The newest aquavit we’re featuring is Bull Run’s, which will be out in limited quantities very soon. We’re pouring it in this riff on the Boulevardier, the Swordplay:

1 1/2 oz Bull Run Regnig Dag aquavit
3/4 oz Campari
3/4 oz Maurin Quina

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

I would have liked to include Gamle Ode dill aquavit in this event, but we weren’t able to get it into Oregon in time. However if all goes well, we’ll have it here sometime soon. I highly recommend it.

The full cocktail menu is below. Come get it next week.

Swordplay
Bull Run aquavit, Campari, Maurin Quina

Aquavit and Tonic
Sound Spirits aquavit, house dill and mustard seed tonic, lime

Stockholm 75
Krogstad Festlig aquavit, lemon, sugar, sriracha bitters, sparkling wine

Golden Lion
North Shore aquavit, Dolin blanc vermouth, Galliano, celery bitters

Scandinavian Sling
Linie aquavit, cherry Heering, lime, Angostura bitters, sparkling wine

Aquavit Hot Toddy
Krogstad Gamle aquavit, house Swedish punsch, lemon, star anise

Beer preview…

Here’s a sneak preview of a porter I’m brewing in collaboration with the extremely talented Ben Edmunds at Breakside Brewing. Keep an eye out for its release in December!

Prohibition lives on in Alabama

A few weeks ago I wrote about the remaining legal hurdles to homebrewing in the United States. Demonstrating that these laws are still doing harm, agents from the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board raided a Birmingham store to seize homebrewing equipment:

The owner of a small beer, wine, and homebrewing supply chain says three agents from the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board raided his unopened store late Thursday afternoon and took $7,000 worth of home beer brewing supplies, including boxes of beer brewing kits, carboys, immersion chillers, and books about brewing.

[...]

The agents took the equipment used to brew beer, but Torres said they left the ingredients used in beer brewing — grain, hops, and yeast — in the store.

“They said they’ll be back at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning and everything had to be — everything, every pellet of hops, every kernel of grain — had to be out of the store before they’d be willing to consider our license,” Torres said. He said he now plans to get those ingredients out of his unopened store, which is located on 2nd Avenue South near Pepper Place, and take them back to his other location in Atlanta Thursday night.

An attorney for the ABC praises the agents’ discretion:

“The agents used their discretion, and instead of taking all of the items — which they had the authority to do — they only took a portion of the items with the assurance that the rest of the items would be out of the state by today (Friday),” Peacock said. The agents also showed discretion by choosing not to arrest the general manager of Hop City, he said.

[Hat tip to Alabama beer lover Tom.]

Zelda cocktail

IMG_20120901_170923 (1)

Continuing our practice of always having at least one beer cocktail on the Metrovino cocktail menu, the Zelda is replacing the popular Mai Ta-IPA. Fans of pink drinks, rejoice!

2 oz Small’s gin
3/4 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz framboise lambic reduction
1 egg white
pickled peach, for garnish

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake without ice to aerate the egg white. Add ice and shake again. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the peach.

The gin used in this cocktail is unique: Small’s from Ransom Spirits, distilled with raspberries and cardamom. It has a distinctive flavor that doesn’t work in every gin cocktail, but in the right drink there’s no substitute for it. If you can find it, pick up a bottle of Small’s.

There are exceptionally good, exceptionally expensive lambic beers flavored with fruit. They are not what you want for this cocktail. Get the inexpensive, fruity, sweet kind that’s widely available. You won’t feel bad about boiling it down into a syrup. I got the idea of reducing these beers with spices from Teardrop Lounge here in Portland and have tried a few variations on it. Here’s the latest:

1 750 ml bottle Lindemans Framboise
1 small stick cinnamon
1 star anise
2 inches ginger, sliced
sugar

Combine the beer and spices in a pan and simmer until flavorful and reduced by about a third in volume. Strain out the spices and measure the liquid. Mix with an equal volume of sugar. Bottle the syrup and keep refrigerated.

Finally, there’s the pickled peach. These come from our chef and are tart with a touch of winter spices. I don’t have an exact recipe, but here is one that you might try. Or simply garnish with fresh raspberries and call it good.

[Informal cocktail naming contest won by Megan McArdle, who is back to blogging this week. Thanks, Megan!]

You didn’t brew that!

I reached out to the Tax and Trade Bureau for clarification about the White House brewery and the legality of hiring personal chefs to do one’s homebrewing. Interestingly, it’s an issue that the TTB has never had to rule on before. Check out the update to last week’s post for all the details.

A brewery in the White House

We are deep into that part of the election when it’s impossible to escape the flood of frivolous news articles about what the candidates ate, exaggerated gaffes, or pretty much anything except actual policy. This week’s example: the fervor about the homebrewed beer that Obama occasionally breaks out on the campaign trail. Crowds chant “four more beers,” reporters get to write punny headlines like “Obama plays up love of beer to ferment coalition of the swilling,” and beer lovers in my Twitter feed gush that the president makes and drinks beer just like them, so, like, who cares about all his Bush-esque civil liberties abuses?

I reacted to the story with my usual political cynicism, but on further reflection having a sitting president publicly boast of his homemade beer represents a real advance in freedom. Though it’s hard to believe as I sit here typing in Portland, Oregon, where making a batch of homebrew with friends is a wholesome afternoon activity, brewing beer at home continued to be against the law in the United States long after Prohibition.

Portland-based homebrew advocate and local legend Fred Eckhardt wrote in his seminal A Treatise on Lager Beers about the state of American beer in 1969:

After Prohibition, it remained illegal to make homebrew (it still is) and so even then there was no light to be shed on the subject. Now more than 35 years after the end of Prohibition we are just beginning to explore the possibilities of homebrewing… There are almost no quality beers made in this country, so if you want good old-country style beer you must make it yourself. Even the German beers imported into this country are being made to the so-called American taste. Pablum and pap for babies. You actually can make beer just as good as the great European master brews in your home. This book is only a start.

Indeed it was. Nine years later, President Jimmy Carter signed legislation allowing people to brew reasonable quantities of beer at home for their personal use, no permits or taxes required. Today American brewers make some of the best beer in the world and many of them got their start making small batches in their garages and kitchens. (The quote above is excerpted in Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch’s The Declaration of Independents, which should be on everyone’s election year reading list.)

Prohibition casts a long shadow, however, and there are still many regulations that can trip up homebrewers. Homebrewing is completely illegal in Alabama and Mississippi. In other states archaic laws have banned removing homebrew from the home, shutting down beer competitions. In Oregon, such a law was amended last year after public outcry. Perhaps seeing the nation’s top elected official drinking beer made at his home will give added legitimacy to the practice and help remove these remaining barriers.

For what it’s worth, I’m not sure that even Obama’s beer is completely legal. [Update: See below for a response from the TTB.] As Dan Todd pointed out to me on Twitter, the beer is made by White House chefs, not the president himself. According to Reuters:

The beer, which comes in both a light and dark variety, is made by the White House chefs who use traditional beer-brewing methods. [...] Taxpayers are not footing the bill for the beer, as both the cost of the equipment and the cost of brewing the beer is paid for by the Obamas personally, the official said.

Federal law states that homebrewed beer cannot be sold and that it cannot be produced by partnerships or corporations:

Any adult may produce beer, without payment of tax, for personal or family use and not for sale. [...]

Partnerships except as provided in §25.207, corporations or associations may not produce beer, without payment of tax, for personal or family use. [The exception referred to is for operators of licensed breweries, who may take some of their product home without paying taxes on it.]

The Tax and Trade Bureau also has strict regulations for brew-on-premises facilities (BOPs), businesses that provide equipment and space to homebrewers, and the assistance they are allowed to provide to clients:

Proprietors and employees of BOPs may not:
Provide assistance to, or on behalf of, customers in the production, storage, or packaging of beer, such as:
– Fermenting mash,
– Adding sugar, CO2, or any other ingredients to beer,
– Filtering or bottling beer, or
– Providing physical assistance in the production, tank transfer, racking, or the bottling or kegging of beer.

I don’t know the specific arrangement the White House beer is brewed under, but having employees brew beer for one’s personal use seems possibly problematic. The president may also be stretching the meaning of “personal use.” When Obama gives his beer away to potential voters while running for office, does that still qualify? It would take one hell of a gutsy TTB agent to levy fines against his ultimate boss, but it sure would be amusing to watch the attempt.

Having a brewery in the White House also provides an opportunity to raise the question of why home distilling, which essentially requires only the additional steps of boiling one’s beer and collecting portions of the condensate, remains an illegal offense that can land one in prison. Merely owning a still in this country is suspect: It must be low in volume, can only be used for making purified water, essential oils, fuel, etc., and the TTB can demand from sellers of stills the name and address of any customer, no warrant required.

Our first president, George Washington, had a distillery on his property and underground distillers continue the tradition of making quality spirits at home. Unfortunately, making craft spirits legally requires leaping some major hurdles. Darek Bell, owner of Corsair Distillery in Nashville, Tennessee, discusses this in his extremely interesting book on distilling, Alt Whiskeys:

Unfortunately, only a few countries in the world allow legal home distilling. New Zealand, for example, is one of them. In the United States, distilling whiskey without a federal permit is a felony. This is no parking ticket. It is life destroying: five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Bell compares craft distilling today to craft beer in the 1980s. Small distillers are making excellent products but they’ve not yet achieved their full creative potential, hampered as they are by high start-up costs and regulatory requirements. Bell’s beer-inspired recipes provide a glimpse of what the future of small-scale whiskey might look like: Chamomile Wheat Whiskey, Huckleberry Moonshine, Bavarian Helles Whiskey. But trying these at home or experimenting with them before going commercial is forbidden, so the path that led to full-time careers for many homebrewers is closed to would-be spirits makers. Legal changes to bring home distilling into the open would help unleash this creativity.

This week’s many articles about Obama’s taste for craft beer have been inane, but they do show how far we’ve come destigmatizing and legalizing alcohol. If thirty years from now we have a president stirring Manhattans made with his special White House Whiskey, that will be an even greater sign of progress.

Update 8/23/12: I’ve been trying to reach the TTB for clarification on the legality of having paid employees brew beer for one’s personal use. I haven’t received a response, but I will update if and when I do.

Update 8/27/12: The Tax and Trade Bureau has responded to my request for clarification about the legality of hiring employees to make tax-free beer for one’s personal consumption. Short answer: This is an issue for which the TTB has never issued a ruling, but the law doesn’t preclude it.

Here’s the question I sent to Tom Hogue, who handles congressional and media inquiries for the TTB:

I’m curious if the TTB has ruled on the legality of having paid employees brew beer for one’s personal consumption. Without necessarily commenting on the White House beer specifically, would this qualify as legal homebrewing? If so, can ordinary citizens hire personal chefs to brew beer for them without paying taxes on it?

And here’s Tom’s response:

The answer to your question is generally speaking, yes. We have not issued a ruling on this issue, however, the regulations do not preclude a person from hiring a personal chef to brew beer for them, provided that they adhere to the regulatory provisions relating to personal or family use.

This is interesting for a couple reasons. First is that the White House brewery has brought up an issue that the TTB has never had to rule on before. Second is that while it’s illegal to sell homebrewed beer, one can apparently sell the labor that goes into making it. This opens up potential business opportunities. For personal chefs it’s an additional service they can offer and one more way they can differentiate themselves from the competition. It might even be possible to work as a “professional homebrewer,” traveling from house to house making beer to clients’ specifications. Who knows if there’s enough demand for that, but it’s an intriguing possibility. (There is at least one “Homebrew Guru” offering something like this in the form of home instruction.)

A caveat to the above: With no official ruling on the subject, these ideas are purely speculative. If more people start earning money making homebrew, the TTB may decide to rule and the selling beer vs. selling labor distinction might not hold up. But for now, at least, an enterprising brewer can claim a sitting president and former University of Chicago law professor as an example in his favor.

New posts at The Drink Nation

My first articles for Drink Portland/The Drink Nation are online. This week I review Pierre Ferrand’s Dry Curaçao, the new orange liqueur that bartenders seemingly can’t get enough of. And from a while back, a guide to visiting breweries in Portland’s north and northeast quadrants.

Recent reading, spirits and cocktails edition

gin1Gin: A Global History, Lesley Jacobs Solmonson — One of the challenges confronting a cocktail writer is finding ways to make drinks sound interesting day after day. Anyone can write a recipe, but presenting it memorably with context and story is a rarer talent. Few pull it off as well as the husband and wife team of David Solmonson and Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, authors of the 12 Bottle Bar cocktail blog. Lesley has put that talent to work in a new book chronicling the history of gin.

In my job as a brand ambassador I’m immersed in gin and genever (not literally — OK, sometimes literally) but I still learned a great deal from reading this. It’s the best presentation I’ve come across explaining the stylistic evolution of juniper spirits from early, medicinally-inspired Dutch genever to the old toms of England, then to London dry and the botanically diverse gins made by contemporary distillers. The story is enhanced with many illustrations reaching back to gin’s earliest days and concludes with a selection of essential cocktails. Highly recommended for gin enthusiasts.

pdt1The PDT Cocktail Book, Jim Meehan — Leave aside the recipes for the moment: This books raises the bar for quality on its production values alone. Omitting photographs in favor of colorful illustrations by Chris Gall, this is easily the prettiest volume on my cocktail bookshelf.

But, of course, the recipes are stellar too. There are more than 300 of them, some classics but mostly originals from the renowned PDT speakeasy in New York. It’s a fantastic snapshot of how one of the best bars in the world operates at the top of its game; there’s plenty here to keep one busy trying new things.

The only difficulty with this book is that Meehan specifies brands for every recipe. This is useful for knowing exactly how they make the drinks at PDT, but it’s not always easy to tell when a substitution would be welcome or when a specific brand is essential to a cocktail. Readers will have to use their judgment or else do a lot of shopping; some guidance in the notes would have been a welcome addition. Nevertheless, this is an instant classic. If you reference cocktail books, you should own this.

beercocktailsBeer Cocktails, Howard and Ashley Stetzer — A collection of beer cocktail recipes is obviously a book that’s going to interest me. The publisher sent me a copy of this one and I’m grateful for the chance to look through it. The drinks run the gamut of beer styles, the recipes are clearly written with brief but entertaining introductions, and the photography is appealing.

There’s somewhat less variety in the spirits used. Allspice dram and Root liqueur show up surprisingly often in a book of fifty recipes, as do nut-flavored liqueurs. A few of the ingredients — vodka, PBR or similar mass market lagers, 99 Bananas — strike me as missed opportunities, but that’s a matter of personal preference. I’m also left thinking the book may have benefited from more research into beer cocktails from other writers and bartenders; the authors’ Sympathy for the Devil, a mixture of gin and Duvel with an absinthe rinse, is nearly identical to Stephen Beaumont’s Green Devil cocktail. This is likely an honest mistake, but it was jarring to see it.

There are bright spots too, including some of the classic beer drinks that the Stelzers include. I like their Knickertwister, which combines sweet and dry vermouth with allspice dram, orange bitters, and IPA (mixing vermouth and beer is underexplored territory). I’m also eager to try their Sleepy Hollow flip, which calls for rye, apple brandy, maple syrup, a whole egg, and pumpkin ale; it sounds delicious, but I’ll have to wait for pumpkin beers to come back into season to give it a go. I have several other recipes marked to try out in the future.

There’s a lot to try here and I’m glad to see beer cocktails, which are popping up on more and more menus, getting a whole book devoted to their creation. Definitely recommended if you’d like to explore more ways of mixing spirits and beer. Follow the authors’ blog too at Beyond the Shadow of a Stout.

Stillwater Artisanal Kopstootje launch tour

NOLA Kopstootje

If you’re a regular reader of this site, you know that ordering a Kopstootje, Dutch for “little headbutt,” will get you a tulip glass of genever and a glass of beer. Typically the beer would be a simple lager, but here in Portland we took the idea further by collaborating with the local Upright Brewery to create a beer specifically designed to pair with Bols Genever, Upright Kopstootje Biere. This lightly spiced biere de garde has been a hit two years running, but if you haven’t been in Portland to catch one of the fewer than twenty kegs produced each batch then you’ve had no way to try it.

We enjoyed this collaboration between distillery and brewery so much that we decided to bring it to more cities. To do that we’ve partnered with another rock star brewer, Brian Strumke of Stillwater Ales. Brian set out to create his own perfect match to Bols Genever. His Stillwater Artisanal Kopstootje is a saison-style ale made with barley, rye, wheat, and corn, spiced with botanicals to complement the spirit. Brian is a gypsy brewer who travels the world making unique beers, so I can’t wait to taste what he’s come up with.

Beginning later this month, we’re kicking off a seven-city tour to launch the pairing. We’re starting in New Orleans, then working our way up the East Coast, and finally wrapping up in Chicago. All events are open to the public, so please stop by and order a Kopstootje. I’ll personally be at the events in New Orleans, DC, Chicago, and probably Boston. Lucas Bols Master Distiller Piet van Leijenhorst will visit in New York. Brian from Stillwater and Tal Nadari from Lucas Bols will be attending events as well.

Below is our current schedule of events, which I will update with dates and times as they become available. I hope to see you there!

New Orleans
Monday, 2/27 at Cure, 5-7 pm.
Monday, 2/27 at Bellocq, 11 pm – late.
Tuesday, 2/28 at Avenue Pub, 6 pm.

Baltimore
Wednesday, 2/29 at Alewife.
Wednesday, 2/29 at Ten Ten.

Washington, DC
Thursday, 3/1 at Jack Rose. (6-9 pm)

Philadelphia
Monday, 3/5 at Farmer’s Cabinet.

New York
Tuesday, 3/6 at Vandaag.
Wednesday, 3/7 at Alewife.

Boston
Dates and locations pending.

Chicago
Wednesday, 3/14 at Bangers and Lace.
Wednesday, 3/14 at Three Aces.

Super Bowl Punch Out!

Apparently there is some kind of sporting event happening this Sunday. Thrillist Portland invited Jeff McCarthy from TenTop/Kitchen Cru, Janis Martin from Tanuki, and me and the Brewing Up Cocktails team to contribute a few recipes for readers’ Super Bowl gatherings. We all managed to make things just a little bit weird: a fermented beef sausage from Janis, Doritios encrusted wings from Jeff, and a gin, IPA, and Galliano punch from us. Any host that makes all three of these is guaranteed to have a memorable party.

Visit Thrillist for all three recipes. Here’s the punch:

2 12 oz bottles IPA or pale ale, chilled
6 oz gin
6 oz orange liqueur
3 oz lime juice
2 oz Galliano
1/2 cucumber, sliced

Combine ingredients in a punch bowl, add ice, and serve. Some dilution is beneficial here so if you’re using a large ice block consider adding a few smaller cubes as well. We didn’t want to call for specific brands in the Thrillist post, but in my own testing I used Damrak for the gin, Mandarine Napoleon for the orange liqueur, and Full Sail IPA for the beer. I like this combination but feel free to make substitutions.

MxMo Retro Redemption: Harvey Weissbanger

weissbanger2

This month’s Mixology Monday theme, as chosen by me, is Retro Redemption. The challenge: To resurrect a cocktail from the Dark Ages of mixology that fell between Prohibition and the contemporary cocktail renaissance, defending it on its merits or giving it new life with the addition of better techniques and ingredients.

This is a fitting theme for me to choose, because part of my job as a brand ambassador for Lucas Bols is promoting Galliano, an Italian liqueur flavored with anise, vanilla, and other herbs. Galliano was absolutely huge in the 1970s, showing up in a variety of cocktails served “against the wall” and by far most prominently in the Harvey Wallbanger. My parents, who don’t drink much but do keep a well stocked bar for guests, include a bottle of Galliano in their collection. They estimate they acquired it around 1978. I am pleased though not surprised that Galliano has shown up in several of the MxMo entries that have been sent in so far.

In the year-and-a-half that I’ve been working for Bols I’ve thought off and on about how to update the Harvey Wallbanger, which is made with vodka, orange juice, and Galliano. There’s a good flavor pairing there. Vanilla and orange go very well together. Look at the Creamsicle cocktail or the success of the Orange Julius chain. This combination works. The ingredient that doesn’t bring anything except alcohol to the drink is vodka. It’s just there in the background, not doing anything aside from getting people drunk. So to modernize the Harvey Wallbanger, the obvious thing to do is replace the vodka with something else.

So OK, what else pairs well with orange? If you read this blog you know that I love beer cocktails, and people have been putting oranges in wheat beers for years. Sometimes they do this in the brewing stage, as with Belgian witbier that’s flavored with coriander and orange peel. Sometimes a wedge of orange is simply added to the rim of the glass, as with some less complex American wheats. Either way, this is another flavor pairing that works.

Putting these pairing ideas together, you can omit the vodka and replace it with beer. Then you get the Harvey Weissbanger:

1 oz Galliano
2 oz orange juice
6 oz quality wheat beer

Build in an ice-filled collins glass, stir gently, and garnish with a strip of orange peel.

You can make this with just about any wheat beer, but the more flavorful ones work best. At my beer cocktail seminar with Ryan Conklin last month we served it with the Upright Four made here in Portland. For something more widely available, the classic Weihenstephaner is also fantastic. Give it a try. I think it’s a refreshing beer cocktail for sipping on the patio or knocking back at brunch.

[Photo by John Valls.]

Beer cocktails at Portland Cocktail Week!

We’re just a few days away from the booziest week in Oregon, Portland Cocktail Week. Bartenders and drinks enthusiasts from all over the country are descending on the city for several days of parties, seminars, competitions, and the Great American Distillers Festival. Get all the details here.

For the opening seminar on Saturday I’m teaming up with bartender Ryan Conklin from Euclid Hall in Denver, Colorado. Denver is another great beer city and Ryan has been leading the way on beer cocktails there. We’re going to give an hour-long presentation about mixing with beer. Attendees will enjoy four cocktails made with Averna, Damrak Gin, Galliano, Novo Fogo Cachaca, Upright Four, Rogue Ales, and a surprise beer that Ryan’s bringing up from Denver. Tickets are available for $15.

The Oregonian offered a preview of Cocktail Week, including this interview with nine local bartenders. I’m in good company there discussing Portland cocktail culture with some of the city’s top talent.

Fresh hopped picks

One of the fun things about living in the Pacific Northwest is fresh hop season, the time of year when breweries can brew beers with hops picked fresh from the vine. Last night I was invited to a preview of the Portland Fresh Hop Tastival where about 40 different fresh hop beers are on tap. I couldn’t taste anywhere close to all of them but here are some standouts from the ones I had:

Deschutes Fresh Hop Mirror Pond — A tasty, fresh hop take on Mirror Pond. Mirror Pond is ubiquitous in Portland but this version is worth seeking out.

Double Mountain Killer Green — A good, hoppy IPA with plenty of aromatics.

Logsdon Fresh Hop Sezoen — I couldn’t actually tell that this was fresh hopped, but the banana aroma on this Belgian style ale is huge. A great change of pace amongst all the pales and IPAs.

The festival is today. Details here.

Beer and cocktails, sittin’ in a tree

ben-edmunds-breakside-breweryjpg-d3b2355bfd92e305

The latest issue of MIX Magazine has a great story about the various ways the beer and cocktail communities in Portland are drawing inspiration from one another. Our Brewing Up Cocktails events, the Kopstootje Biere collaboration between Bols Genever and Upright Brewing, and the cocktail beers created by Ben Edmunds at Breakside Brewing are all featured. I got to try Ben’s Sazerac beer a few months ago and it was delicious. Read the whole thing here.

One of our cocktails at Metrovino, the Averna Stout Flip, was also mentioned in article about beer cocktails in this month’s Beverage Media magazine. It’s here in PDF.

[Photo of Ben Edmunds from MIX Magazine.]

Caip-beer-inha

caipbeerinha

The Caipirinha, a simple mixture of muddled lime, sugar, and cachaça, lends itself to infinite variation. Different fruits or syrups are often added to it. A German friend tells me that the Hot Caipi — a Caipirinha made with hot water instead of ice — is popular in the winter there. At Metrovino we give the drink a Pacific Northwest twist, finishing it with a hoppy Oregon ale.

Ezra from The New School came up with the idea of making a Caipirinha with beer. We tried out several variations, but I decided I like this simple one the best. It’s a basic Caipirinha topped off with about an ounce of IPA. The beer adds a lightly bitter backbone and some length to the cocktail, making it a perfect summer patio drink.

2 oz cachaça
1/2 lime, cut into quarters
1 tablespoon sugar
1 oz IPA

Muddle the sugar and lime, add the cachaça, and shake with ice. Dump everything into a rocks glass, top with the IPA, and give it a gentle stir before serving.

For the cachaça we of course use my favorite Novo Fogo Silver; our beer is Ninkasi Total Domination IPA. The flavors work wonderfully together.

[Thanks to Brenda from Food Shed for the excellent photo.]

Previously:
Crystal Caipirinha and Cleared for Departure