Booze Brews Competition
As we mentioned, last week was Beer Week here in DC. The schedule was full of beer-related fun all over the city all week, and one particular event seemed like it was inserted in the schedule just for us. For the Booze Brews Competition, five local bartenders were paired with four local breweries and one that’s not local but is still a pretty cool craft brewery (I mean, Cooperstown is 375 miles and two states away; we have to have limits). The bartenders’ assignment was to create a new cocktail recipe featuring their beer. Our assignment was to taste them all, and vote on a winner. Happy to oblige.
Our gracious hosts for the evening were DGBG in City Center. In their smart upstairs event rooms, they provided us with tasty appetizers and a great vantage point for people watching down on the City Center courtyard below while we sampled these cocktail creations.
All five of the cocktails were pleasant surprises: fresh, interesting, unexpected, and easy drinking. We especially enjoyed the playfulness all of the bartenders were exhibiting. One of them, for instance, made it his goal to employ hibiscus as many ways as possible. Three, by the way: in a syrup, a foam, and a salt rim. In short, everyone made a good showing, but we were only given two beer bottle caps to vote with.
One of our bottle caps went to Sixth Engine’s Donato Alvarez for his Jalisco Radler Snake.
Like most successful drink creators, Alvarez started with an existing drink as an inspiration and jumping off point. Actually, in this case, he had two inspirations: the radler and the paloma. The radler is a new one for us; it looks like it’s basically the shandy’s older, German brother, a mix of beer and lemonade. We haven’t tried a classic radler, but we loved what Alvarez did with it. There’s a lot going on with this cocktail, and sometimes the different elements of complex drinks like this one seem like they’re competing with one another. With the Jalisco Radler Snake, it’s like all of the different aspects of the drink, from the IPA front, through the Aperol and shrub middle to the light beer foam finish, each waited for their proper chance to shine.
Here’s a little more about this drink, in Alvarez’s own words:
What was your inspiration for this cocktail?
The inspiration was to create a Mexican-inspired version of a Radler, so the natural pairing was a play on the classic Paloma cocktail which incorporates grapefruit sofa and tequila. The bitterness from the blood orange IPA pairs great with grapefruit and a splash of Aperol ties it all together.
Anything you were especially pleased with in how this drink turned out?
The beer foam was a fun way to use a second beer in the same cocktail. Tepache is a lightly fermented pineapple soda, in essence. Bittermens takes this concept and creates a Tepache liqueur. The agave-lime notes from the Numero Uno Lager and Tepache worked great together so I made it into a foam for a light, airy, aromatic topping to an otherwise hoppy, slightly bitter cocktail!
Alvarez was kind enough to share his recipe with us. It’s a bit more complicated than our usual, but, believe us, it’s worth it. It’s convinced us of two things: 1) we should be doing more with beer in our cocktails, and 2) we need a whipped cream gun.
Jalisco Radler Snake Cocktail Recipe
- 1oz Silver Tequila
- .75oz grapefruit cordial*
- .25oz lime juice
- .25oz aperol
- 2 drops Bittermens Habanero Shrub
- 3oz Flying Dog Bloodline IPA
- Flying Dog Numero Uno-Tepache Foam**
- Shake all ingredients except for beer and foam.
- Strain over a small amount of ice.
- Top with IPA and gently stir once.
- Top with foam.
- Peels and juice of 6 grapefruit
- Juice of 9 lemons
- 24oz white sugar
- Bring peels and juice to boil
- Add sugar and stir until fully dissolved.
- Turn heat off and allow to cool.
- Once cool, strain peels.
- 12oz Numero Uno Lager
- 2oz Bittermens Tepache
- 1oz simple syrup
- 2tsp Xantham Gum
- 1 NO2 charger
- Whipped cream gun
- Add all ingredients to whipped cream gun and shake well.
- Charge with NO2 and refrigerate.
- Can be used immediately.