Liquor Before Beer, Or Is It Beer Before Liquor?

Its one of those famous drinking adages. As the saying goes “liquor before beer, never fear. Beer before liquor never sicker.”. If you’re a drinker you have heard that saying countless times. Is there any truth to that saying? Not really. The folks at Mythbusters, with their do diligence, proved that to be false – Liquor and beer. Really I have never had a problem drinking beer and liquor, in any order, in the same night. Its only been when I have consumed in mass quantity the alcohol trifecta – wine, beer, and spirits – that I have ever had a problem. I am just going to blame it all on the wine…..Its not like I have ever gotten sick drinking beer or whiskey…..never happened…..that I can remember. Knowing that beer and liquor can mix and play nice, we come to today’s post – cocktails!

Ever since I developed a love for good beer, my love for fine spirits has grown as well. In increasing regularity I have found myself falling in love with a well constructed cocktail. No, not the fishbowl variety designed to get you hammered while hiding the alcohol it contains. Nor do I care for the wrongly named ‘Tinis….Ugh seriously…..A Martini contains EXACTLY three ingredients – Gin, Vermouth, and orange bitters…Nothing else can be called a martini or use the ‘tini suffix….I mean come on just switching the garnish from an olive to a onion nets you a different cocktail…..Starting to get that stabby feeling…..Ok rant over, now back to your originally scheduled post…… No, I have developed a love for alcohol forward cocktails. In proper cocktail construction each ingredient serves a purpose. Each flavor comes together in a cohesive drink. When well done, its much more than a mere alcohol delivery system. Its with that in mind, that I offer up some classically styled cocktails from a wannabe mixologist.

The Brew Geek’s House Cocktail1.5oz dark rum
.5oz Benedictine
.5oz Raspberry liquor
.5oz dry vermouth
Dash of chocolate & orange bitters

Add all ingredients to an ice filled cocktail shaker. Stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a brandy or whiskey infused cocktail cherry.

The Classic…And The Only #@#%#$@!@$# Drink That Can Be Called A…..Martini

2 1/4oz Gin
3/4 oz Vermouth*
1 dash Orange Bitters
Cocktail olive

Combine the gin, vermouth, and orange bitters in an ice filled shaker. Stir** until well chilled. Strain into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with a cocktail olive.

*With the martini, as well as with the Manhattan and Rob Roy cocktails, there are three ways it can be made. If you just order a regular ol’ martini it should be made with sweet vermouth. If you want a dry martini, it should have dry vermouth. Lastly you have the “perfect” martini. For that you split the vermouth between sweet and dry – for that I opt for a 1/2 oz each of sweet and dry vermouth in the above cocktail.

**For the record, James Bond is full of shit. Cocktails made purely of alcohols(IE devoid of juices/dairy/etc) must always be stirred, and never ever shaken.

Kangaroo Cocktail

2 1/4oz Vodka
3/4oz Vermouth*

I offer up this cocktail in hopes of helping to reclaim the true martini. The falsely made/named vodka martini has become the bane of my cocktail drinking existence. Too many times I have tried to order a martini only to be thwarted by a bartender asking me if I have a preferred vodka. When that happens I order a different cocktail, or go back to hugging it out with my love of beer. I beg of you dear reader, if this is the cocktail you like, please order it by its proper and only name. Its only when we cocktail drinkers order this cocktail by its true name, may we finally restore the glory of the true martini……and hopefully we will put a few dents in that most dreaded of cocktail suffixes known as ‘tini

Combine the vodka and vermouth in an ice filled shaker. Stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

*Just like with a martini you can use sweet, dry, or a combination of both.

India Collins
2oz Gin
3/4oz Lemon Juice*
1/4oz St. Germain Elderflower Liquor
1tsp superfine sugar

In an iced filled cocktail shaker combine the gin, lemon juice, St. Germain, and sugar. Shake hard. Strain into an ice filled Collins glass. Top off with the IPA.

*When using juices, with a few exceptions, you should always use fresh squeezed juices. Bottled juices are fine, but generally do not belong anywhere near a good cocktail. There is definitely no reason not to use fresh squeezed citrus juices.

**For the IPA, opt for a citrusy IPA. The citrus notes work well with the lemon juice, and compliment the botanicals in gin. IPA’s such as Sixpoint Bengali Tiger, Sierra Nevada Celebration, or Breckenridge 471 IPA work well.

Chocolate Maple Bacon Bar
2oz bacon infused rye or bourbon, recipe follows
1/2oz sweet vermouth
1/2oz grade A maple syrup
2 dashes chocolate bitters, preferably The Bitter Truth Xocolatl Mole Chocolate Bitters
3oz imperial stout

I created this cocktail in an attempt to recreate the qualities of one of my favorite chocolate bars. Mo’s Bacon Bar by the higher end chocolate company Vosges is truly a thing of beauty. Smokey bacon melds perfectly with deliscious milk chocolate. If you are a fan of either bacon or chocolate, I command you to seek out a bar of your own.

In an iced filled shaker combine the whiskey, vermouth, maple syrup, and bitters. Shake hard. Strain into an ice filled rocks glass. Float* the stout over the cocktail. Add a slice of cooked bacon as an optional garnish.

*Floating is a way of layering spirits, beers, or other alcohols. To float an alcohol make sure the denser liquid is on bottom. Slowly pour the less dense alcohol over the back of a spoon. If done correctly there should be distinct layers.

Bacon Infused Whiskey
750ml whiskey
3-4 strips smokey bacon

This technique is called fat washing. Its a simple method for infusing the flavors of a fat into a spirit. Dice the bacon. In a pan render the the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon and reserve for another use. Strain the fat and let cool, but don’t let it solidify. Reserve one ounce of the fat. Pour the fat and whiskey into a jar. Cover the jar. Let the fat and whiskey infuse for 4-6 hours, depending on how smokey your bacon is. Place the covered jar into the freezer overnight. After the fat has congealed, strain it out. Using a coffee filter, further strain the whiskey to remove any remaining fat. You can now pour your whiskey back into its original bottle. You should now have a tasty whiskey packed with a great kick of smoky bacony goodness.


~ by thebrewgeek on Tuesday, January 15, 2013.

2 Responses to “Liquor Before Beer, Or Is It Beer Before Liquor?”

  1. Quick note on the Bond observation: Bond drinks vodka martinis – and if vodka martinis weren’t shaken (to make them ice cold), they would taste awful!

    • Shaking vs stirring, if done properly, chills a cocktail the same. A shaken cocktail just breaks down the ice more, resulting in a more watered down cocktail. James Bond drank Kangaroo cocktails, not martinis 🙂

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