This just in: Stout is out. Bartenders are embracing lighter brews as key cocktail ingredients, using their subtle flavors and effervescence to best effect.
“We view beer as an additional ingredient that enhances cocktails—and there’s better beer out there,” says Christian Siglin, head bartender at San Diego’s Craft & Commerce. He says sours and lambics provide him with ample inspiration for cocktail concoctions, but he also likes lighter IPAs. To wit: He rolled out a tiki-style beer punchbowl called Carne Voodoo for spring, which features three kinds of rum, fruit juices and orgeat syrups, balanced by a bitter black IPA.
If you like a hoppy India Pale Ale, try >>>
An Ale Unknown
Recipe courtesy Brendan Dorr, head bartender, B&O American Brasserie, Baltimore
At this Baltimore brasserie, Dorr chooses Ranger IPA, made by Colorado’s New Belgium Brewery, but any IPA can be used to mix this versatile drink—hence the “unknown” part of the drink name.
1½ ounces Bluecoat Gin
½ ounce Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
½ ounce lemon juice
¼ ounce honey syrup (equal parts honey and hot water)
IPA, to top
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine all the ingredients except the IPA and shake well. Strain it into a highball glass, top with the IPA and stir gently to mix.
If you like a light Pilsner, try >>>
Recipe courtesy David Welch, co-owner and bar manager, Sunshine Tavern, Portland, OR
A classic shandy mixes beer with lemonade or ginger ale. For a refined version, garnish the cocktail with a sprig of rosemary.
1 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup
Weihenstephaner Pilsner, to top
Add a scoop of ice to a pint glass, add the lemon juice and simple syrup. Fill the glass the rest of the way with the Pilsner. Gently stir, and serve garnished with a lemon wedge and a straw.
If you like fruity lambics, try >>>
Lay Lady Lay
Recipe courtesy Craft & Commerce, San Diego
Created by New York bartender Phil Ward specifically for Craft & Commerce, this drink offers a robust alternative to traditional mimosas.
2 ounces Lindemans Framboise lambic
2 ounces Champagne (or other sparkling wine)
½ ounce ginger syrup
3–5 fresh berries, for garnish
In a wine glass, stir together all ingredients with ice. Garnish with fresh berries.