Posts Tagged ‘ginger_beer’

Skip the pumpkin patches and corn mazes for the Pumpkin King cocktail

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Cocktail experiments are much like wandering through a corn maze.  Sometimes – too often – a promising zig or zag ends up a dead-end. Repeatedly. Should I consider it cheating if someone finally hands me a map? Hell no!

I get some flavor ideas stuck in my head; this month it was pumpkin (for the holidays and because my daughter’s smile looks like a jack-o-lantern now, with missing teeth galore). The problem is that pumpkin, no matter in syrup or butter form, leaves unappealing sediment.  Blech.  Then I remembered that chocolate can have that same problem –> but my chocolate stout reduction did not –> and they do make pumpkin ale –> so I could use the same technique to make pumpkin ale syrup. Aha! Surely I had found my way out of the maze. 



Er, not quite. Sticking with my chocolate stout syrup recipe, I created the pumpkin ale syrup and trialed it in several cocktails. Somehow I just couldn’t find the right combination of flavors to highlight the pumpkin element. Ready to toss that idea into my (full) dustbin of discarded cocktail ideas, an online search brought me to a Raising the Bar segment with Jamie Boudreau, owner of the excellent Canon on Capitol Hill. Boudreau demonstrates the Pumpkin King recipe, even using the same brand of ale, Southern Tier Pumking, for his pumpkin ale liqueur.

The Pumpkin King cocktail is refreshing and interesting. It would make an ideal chaser to Trick or Treating or a Thanksgiving feast…or both!


Jamie Boudreau’s Pumpkin King cocktail

1½ oz blended Scotch
½ oz pumpkin ale liqueur (see my change below)
½ oz lime juice
Dash of bitters (I used Peyschauds)
Ginger beer to top (I used 1 oz of Fentimans)

Shake the first four ingredients with ice; strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Top with ginger beer (I found 1 oz to be better, perhaps owing to different glass sizes), and garnish with a lime wedge.


Disclosure: my version deviates from Boudreau’s because I wanted to use the pumpkin ale syrup I had already made rather than create a liqueur.  My syrup uses less sugar, so I bumped the amount up from ½ oz to 1 oz in the cocktail. If you also want to go that route, here is my recipe:


Pumpkin Ale Syrup

1 bottle (24 oz) of pumpkin ale
1 c. sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 t. allspice berries
1/8 t. salt
Combine all in a large sauce pan. Bring to boil until the sugar is dissolved, and then simmer on medium while stirring occasionally and watching carefully — it can quickly bubble up and over if left unwatched. After simmering for 15 minutes, remove from heat and discard any foam on top.


Happy Halloween! Looking for more Halloween-inspired cocktails? Check out these previous posts:

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Drinks That Burn in Hell-oween

When Orange Meets Black

Uniting Fire and Ice

A Cackle Night Hollow

Cheers, ICE

As always, check out my Glossary of Spirits page for alcohol and mixer definitions and details.


Bending the calendar with fruit shrubs

Friday, October 5th, 2012

It is October, right? Or am I being punked by my calendar, fooled into thinking it’s October when the weather seems more like the end of August? If so, then the joke is also on the blackberries, plums and other late summer fruit still heavy on trees and bushes. But I will have the last laugh when I am enjoying these fruits into 2013.

I won’t freeze them or make jam. Instead, I’ll do as American colonialists did and make shrubs – a combination of fruit, vinegar and sugar.  Shrubs can be used in cocktails or enjoyed splashed into plain club soda or even Diet Coke (try with cherry shrub!). The vinegar lends a tangy taste to produce and serves as a great preservative.

In my cranberry Thanksgiving shrub post, I described how to cook a shrub. For late summer’s softer, juicier fruits, I love the cold-process approach because it is so easy and the ingredients do all the work. But don’t be limited by season: I have found that frozen berries make excellent shrubs with this same technique.

Blackberry shrub

2 c. washed blackberries
1 c. sugar
1 c. champagne vinegar

Combine the blackberries and sugar in a covered jar or bowl and refrigerate for a day or two, until the berries break down and a syrup forms. Fine strain the berry solids out, then add vinegar to the syrup, bottle and refrigerate. For best taste, wait another day or two for the flavors to meld and then enjoy!

I use the recipe above as my template for most shrubs: 2 cups fruit to 1 cup sugar and 1 cup vinegar (usually white wine, champagne or apple cider vinegars). Then I experiment with flavors, using my shrubs as substitutes for citrus juice and muddled fruit in cocktails.

Sometimes an existing cocktail recipe provides the perfect foundation for a shrub tweak. Such was the case with the Bufala Negra, which calls for balsamic vinegar. I can’t compare it to the original recipe, but my version makes a flavorful and refreshing drink to enjoy all year round.  

Bufala Negra Shrubbed

1½ oz bourbon
4 fresh basil leaves (+1 for optional garnish)
3/4 oz shrub
2 oz ginger beer (I used Fentimans)
Brown sugar (optional)

Muddle the shrub and basil. Add bourbon and ice and shake hard. Strain over fresh ice cubes into a glass and top with ginger beer. Garnish with basil leaf. Note: Since shrub sweetness can vary by fruit and time of season, you can add a teaspoon or more of brown sugar when muddling the basil if you like.

Combined, blackberries, bourbon and basil are a tongue twister — and a tongue tingler. Enjoy!


Cheers, ICE

*Bufala Negra is from Imbibe Magazine online


A Bright, Crisp Cocktail to Welcome Fall

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

You know how great it is when you introduce a friend to something new and they go all crazy for it? Well, it may not be in the same league as turning someone on to bungee jumping or roller derby, but I’m pretty psyched that I introduced “Ginger” to ginger beer. Now she’s a connoisseur of the spicy, non-alcoholic brews (think ginger ale but with more tang), and recently slipped me a bottle of Reed’s Spiced Apple Brew. Pretty tasty, especially when combined with rum, Chartreuse and mint!

I’m glad I spotted this recipe before winging it, because it wouldn’t have occurred to me to try the Chartreuse.  The apple-y ginger, Chartreuse and mint flavors dance really well here. I really couldn’t tease out the rum and I’m thinking that citrus vodka or plain rum wouldn’t make much difference. 

Say hello to fall with this bright, crisp drink:

Mid-Autumn Highball (original recipe)

6 mint leaves, plus sprig for garnish
¾ oz simple syrup (I omitted)
½ oz green Chartreuse
1 ½ oz citrus rum
3 oz alcoholic sparkling apple cider (I used 3 ½ oz Reed’s Spiced Apple Brew)

Muddle the mint leaves in a cocktail shaker, and then add ice and all ingredients except the Reed’s. Shake well to chill, and then pour into an ice-filled highball glass. Add the Reed’s brew and stir gently. Note: I substituted 3 ½ oz of Reed’s Spiced Apple Brew for the apple cider and omitted the simple syrup because I correctly suspected that the Reed’s would add enough sweetness. 

My variation of the Mid-Autumn Highball uses spiced apple ginger beer.

Autumn is obviously hitting the Pacific Northwest early this year, and now I have the drink to toast the season.  Thanks, Ginger! 

Cheers, ICE


A Shandy is Dandy on a Hot Summer Day

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

I’m getting whiplash from the Seattle-area weather this summer, as we jump from cool and crummy to hot and sunny within days or hours. Now it’s HOT and replenishing fluids is essential. What to drink?

I could say that I’ve been avoiding the cocktail shaker because I don’t want to exert myself in our non-air-conditioned house. The truth is that I’m just lazy, and lazy days call for The Shandy. Here’s the recipe (don’t work too hard popping the caps off):

Take a bottle of pale ale
Mix it with a bottle of ginger ale
Add ice and stir gently. 

I am currently using Kona Longboard Lager, similar to a very pale ale, and Hansen’s Sugar-Free Ginger Ale. Other combinations work when neither the beer nor ginger ale dominates the taste.

Don’t judge: this drink is far better than it sounds. It is my preferred summer beverage for several reasons…

  1. Any other drink in this quantity would get me streaking-through-the-neighborhood drunk.
  2. It’s low in calories for the quantity.
  3. It’s easy to transport in a cooler and mix poolside.
  4. Full bottles of beer and ginger ale together with ice fit perfectly in a 32 oz Big Gulp cup.

Try it and you can be klassy like me.

My big gulp of Shandy

Cheers, ICE