At some point over the last year I had an awakening. Formerly a self-proclaimed 'exclusively beer & wine' guy, I started dabbling with liquor. Initially it was in the unadulterated form; partly due to a general lack of knowledge, and partly due to a stubborn motivation to enjoy it for what it was before I started mixing without the confidence to produce consistent results. Fear of failure I suppose is how I would characterize it. After all, there is a certain pride that comes with being able to mix a good cocktail, and even more when it comes to inventing your own drink without following a recipe. In fact I would go so far as to say preparing a bad cocktail is at the same degree of embarrassment as hosting a super bowl party, only to have the cable to go out thanks to economy-tier internet. You just don't do it. Fortunately I can not only save you such embarrassment, but also possibly help bridge the gap between craft beer and the liquor world for those staunch hipster friends of yours.
There are a few things I have learned about using beer in cocktails, and in the kitchen in general: you don't need much. Anyone who has tried making rice with beer or dumping a growler full of imperial stout into a chicken marinade knows by now that the beer should be there to further enhance a reliable base recipe, not to be the star of the show. By the way, if this simple fact bothers you because you are a man or women with strict beer principles...now would be the time to move on to the beer locator page. Having made that qualification, if you are looking for something new and fresh but with just the right amount of comfortable familiarity, beer cocktails are it.
Let me start by saying that this is a good, strong drink. Although it does possess a lot of the qualities of a summer-y spritz, it's quite a bit more potent, thanks to the addition of Rye Whiskey and an Imperial IPA floater.
Aperol (a popular Italian aperitif) and lemon juice add a well balanced yin & yang that will beckon to you far before last call (I like to start the night with this one, even though the alcohol content often results in an early bedtime.)
First off, the color of this beverage is nothing short of gorgeous, presenting like a glass of freshly squeezed guava. Keep in mind the depth of color will be influenced largely by the individual components. Mature Whiskeys that spent more time in a barrel are darker than younger whiskeys and IPAs vary widely in their range of color, known as their SRM or Standard Reference Method. Finally the amount of orange hue is dependent on the amount of Aperol you decide to use. However you choose to make yours, though, it will be a thing of beauty.
Ok, so there is good news for beer fanatics, The qualities of the IPA are absolutely present, with effervescent citrusy hop aromas dancing off the rim followed by a complex flavor combination of rhubarb and brûléed orange. So why am I still teasing you? Let's get down to business. Check out this simple recipe and feel free to adjust to your taste:
HOW TO MAKE A "NO DIGGITY" IPA COCKTAIL
2 Parts (1.5 oz) Rye Whiskey - There are plenty of craft options out there if you want to support someone local. Just make sure it's decent quality.
1 Part (.75 oz) Aperol - No description necessary. The one. The only.
1 Part (.75 oz) Lemon Juice - Fresh-squeezed or otherwise.
IPA - Hop Diggity DIPA works the best IMO. Find it here or order online. Keep in mind, the beer you choose is going to change the balance of the drink. Using a hazy IPA that's only 25 IBUs is going to result in a less balanced drink because the the bitterness helps to counter the sweetness of the liqueur. In addition the haze will radically change the appearance of the drink and may make it muddy. You want this bright and beautiful.
Grapefruit (Optional) - Topping the drink with a grapefruit twist adds an unbelievable aroma that further enhances the IPA. As CO2 bubbles rise to the top of the glass they capture aromatic oils from the fruit skin and deliver them straight to your olfactory.
Combine Rye Whiskey, Aperol, lemon juice, and ice in a shaker and shake vigorously. Fill a mixer or highball glass with ice. Strain shaker contents over ice and top with IPA and a grapefruit twist. I say optional only because you don't always have fresh fruit lying around, and good citrus is seasonal, so it shouldn't preclude you from recreating this masterpiece, but what a difference a twist makes.
Got a take on this beverage or another cocktail you'd like to share? Be sure to comment below or drop us. a note.