Maybe it’s all the college and pro football games on TV or the start of the baseball playoffs, but we’re suddenly craving a brewski. While we’ll skip the Oktoberfest lederhosen and polka, thank you very much, beer’s malty flavor works great in an autumnal cocktail.
Fortunately, this summer’s Tales of the Cocktail conference offered a masterclass in building sudsy concoctions, hosted by Chicago bartender Adam Seger, master sommelier Doug Frost and Southern Wine & Spirits director of mixology Francesco Lafranconi.
The most surprising piece of advice? Avoid hop-heavy IPAs, which tend to take over any recipe. Instead, the experts suggested using Belgian ales, whose acidic, fruity and often funky notes play much better with spirits.
That’s clear in Frost’s Dark & Stoutly, a fiery habanero spin on the classic Dark ‘n Stormy. The tartness of the deeply malty stout matches perfectly with the lime, ginger and rum.
Sour is also a key element of Seger’s Mezcal & Mayhem featuring a tripel-style brew and Southern favorite mayhaw jelly (a little lemon juice and raspberry preserves is a fine substitute if you live above the Mason-Dixon Line). The combination stands up nicely to Campari’s bitterness and mezcal’s smokiness.
And then there’s Lafranconi’s Rub & Rye (pictured above). With a rye whiskey base, a barbecue-rub rim and a beef-jerky garnish, it’s one of the manliest creations we’ve ever encountered. But it’s topped with Scaldis Pêche Mel, a Belgian beer that adds an unexpected peach flavor and effervescence. It is, of course, excellent paired with grilled meat and sports. Cheers!
Dark & Stoutly
Contributed by Doug Frost
- 1.5 oz El Dorado 15 Year Old Special Reserve Rum
- 1.5 oz Ginger-Habanero Syrup*
- .5 oz Fresh lime juice
- 5 oz Dupont Monk’s Stout or other stout-style beer
- Glass: Pint or goblet
- Garnish: Lime wedge
Add the rum, syrup and lime juice to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a pint glass or goblet half-filled with fresh ice. Top with the beer and garnish with a lime wedge.
- 4 cups Turbinado sugar
- 1 Habanero pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 lb Fresh ginger, sliced
- 3 cups Water
Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, let cool completely and strain. Store covered in the refrigerator.
Mezcal & Mayhem
Contributed by Adam Seger
- 1.5 oz Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal
- .75 oz Campari
- .75 oz Mayhaw Syrup*
- 5 oz Vicaris Tripel-Geuze or other Belgian tripel-style beer
- Glass: Pint or highball
- Garnish: Orange wheel or twist
Add the mezcal, Campari and Mayhaw Syrup to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a pint or highball glass half-filled with fresh ice. Top with the beer and garnish with an orange wheel or twist.
*To make Mayhaw Syrup, whisk just enough hot water into mayhaw jelly to make a syrup consistency. (You may substitute raspberry preserves or cranberry jelly plus a bit of lemon juice.)
Rub & Rye
Contributed by Francesco Lafranconi
- Mesquite salt or your favorite barbecue dry rub spice mixture
- 1.5 oz Bulleit Rye Whiskey
- .75 oz Lemon juice
- .75 oz Maple syrup
- 1 oz Egg white
- 5 oz Scaldis Pêche Mel beer
- 5 drops Barbecue bitters
- Glass: Pint or double Old Fashioned
- Garnish: Beef jerky
Coat the rim of a pint or double Old Fashioned glass with mesquite salt or dry rub. Fill halfway with ice and set aside. Add the rye, lemon juice, maple syrup and egg white to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into the prepared glass. Top with the beer and bitters, and garnish with a piece of beef jerky.