MxMo LIX: Industrial Pale Fizz (Part 2)

Continuing with the practical exercise from the previous MxMo LIX post.

I’ve experimented with compounded beer flavored beverages before, as in my Modernist Punch, but this is a more a la minute preparation.

From 7/13/11

But when Frederic called for “Beer Cocktails”, I knew I had to step it up a notch. First I infused California Single Grain vodka with roasted barley and Rye for 24 hours.

From 7/13/11

Then I added Cascade Whole Leaf hops and let it sit for another day.

From 7/13/11

I strained out the barley and hops.

From 7/13/11

Combined 1 1/2 oz infused vodka with 1 1/2 tablespoons Malted Barley Syrup. Man that stuff is sticky. Added a tiny squeeze of lemon juice and an egg white. Dry shook it for a few seconds. Added Ice and shook the crap out of it.

Strained it into a pint glass and topped up with soda water.

Hey, it’s kind of neat, the bubbles in the carbonation are forming little waves of froth floating up the liquid, almost like Guinness.

Uh right, what is that?

It is remotely beer-like, but maybe reminds me a bit more of an Egg Cream than a beer.

First you get the roasty taste of the grains, then the sweetness of the barley malt. Finishes with a nice touch of hop bitterness and then the annoying aftertaste of highly distilled alcohol from the vodka.

On the plus side, it is neither the worst cocktail nor the worst beer that I have ever drunk.

MxMo LIX: Industrial Pale Fizz

MxMo LIX: Beer!

While beer being used as an ingredient in modern cocktails has gotten a lot of press as of late, this is not a new trend. Beer has played a historical role in mixed drinks for centuries. For example, it can be found in Colonial drinks like the Rumfustian, Porter Sangaree, and Ale Flip. While many of these drinks are not seen in modern bars save for craft cocktail establishments, other beer drinks are though, including the Boilermaker, Black Velvet, and Michelada. And present day mixologists are utilizing beer with great success including Kelly Slagle’s Port of Funchal, Jacob Grier’s Averna Stout Flip, and Emma Hollander’s Word to Your Mom. Bartenders are drawn to beer for a variety of reasons including the glorious malt and roast notes from the grain, the bitter and sometimes floral elements from the hops, the interesting sour or fruity notes from the yeast, and the crispness and bubbles from the carbonation. Beer is not just for pint glasses, so let us honor beer of all styles as a drink ingredient.

When I heard about this month’s Mixology Monday, it sort of put me off. To be honest, I’m not much into “Beer Cocktails”, as to me beer is already pretty much a perfect beverage.

However, when I was thinking more about it…

The two main impetus for distillation were to first preserve fermented beverages from spoiling and second to reduce the volume.

Usually, you talk about these things with regard to how much beer the English Royal Navy or other expeditions had to bring along to satiate their crews and passengers. As in, many people speculate the real reason the pilgrims decided on Plymouth Rock wasn’t so much choice, as they had run out of beer and needed to get to land for provisions to make more. If they ran out of alcoholic beverages for long on ship, they would be facing a mutiny.

So with Punch, what you were doing was, essentially, re-adding to the distilled spirits, what had been lost in the process of distillation: fruit flavor, sweetness, and water.

OK, that is easy to do with Brandy, distilled from fruit, but what about spirits distilled from grain?

How do you turn whiskey back into beer?

Here’s my idea:

A Silver Fizz made with hop infused white dog sweetened with barley syrup.

Hop infused Whiskey

1/4 cup well toasted rye or barley
1 Cup Unaged Whiskey
1 Tablespoon Hops

Add toasted grain to whiskey, let stand to infuse 2 days. On the second day add the hops and let stand another day. Filter out solids and bottle.

Industrial Pale Fizz

2 oz Hop Infused Whiskey
1 Teaspoon Barley Syrup
1 Egg White
Soda Water

Add Whiskey, Syrup, and Egg White to mixing tin. Dry Shake to emulsify. Add ice and shake well. Strain into a Fizz Glass and top with Soda Water.

The question I have, though, is citrus.

The balance of beer is pretty much entirely between bitter and sweet flavors, most often without sour. Do we want to introduce citrus to the drink to make it a Lambic Fizz?

Unfortunately, I didn’t get this much beyond the conceptual stage by the deadline for the MxMo. Stay tuned this week for more details regarding the cocktail.

MxMo XXXVI: Hard Drinks for Hard Times


Matt Rowley over at Rowley’s Whiskey Forge is hosting this month’s MxMo and his theme is Hard Drinks for Hard Times:

If your 401(k) has taken a beating, or if you or a spouse or friend have been laid off, or if you’re simply hanging on to your wallet for dear life, you’ve probably given some thought to how the economy is affecting your basic expenditures—such as those you make for booze. Here’s a chance to share how you’re drinking during the downturn; whether it’s affordable booze, ways you’re cutting corners, or things you’ve figured out how to mix or make on the cheap, we need to hear it.

Uh, so this is almost a week late.  Sorry Matt, I’ve had it mostly written in my notebook for over a week, but haven’t gotten a chance to get it turn it into a blog post until now.


As you may have noticed, I have a small problem with compulsively purchasing spirits.

This is not really a new thing, just sort of a different expression of my spendthrift ways.

When I was a kid, I spent what little money I made from my paper route and selling coke at football games on collecting comic books.  When I got a bit older, I started purchasing records.  After I reached drinking age, I went through a period of wine obsession.  As time flew on, I moved to CDs.  Then for a period I was completely obsessed with computer games.

I am a compulsive collector of sorts and our house is cluttered with the paraphernalia of my various and sundry obsessions.

Which also means, I have never really been good at prioritizing budgets, keeping track of my spending, or coming up with real career plans for myself.  In fact, after moving to California and failing to find a well paying job, I was probably on the fast track towards accumulating a very nasty credit card debt.  Were it not for some success at finding decently paying jobs in technology, I am not really sure where I would be today.

But after a couple of the tech companies I worked for failed, I took a job with a local University.  Taking a significant pay cut in exchange for what I hoped would be job security and decent benefits.  The job security thing didn’t initially turn out to be quite the case I was hoping for, but I am still working for the same University, albeit in another job.

Since starting at the University, I’ve made enough to cover the bills and been quite religious about not accumulating more debt that I can cover on a monthly basis.

But the spirits purchases related to the Savoy project have always put a pretty big dent in my monthly income.  And, for something like 4 out of the last 7 years I have worked for the University, we have had pay freezes or limits on increases in compensation.  When we have gotten raises, they haven’t even been at a rate commensurate with inflation.  Really, the only way to get a decent raise at the University is to switch jobs.  But now, with most departments having hiring freezes due to the California state budget situation…

One thing I’ve tried to do, from time to time, is to parlay my areas of intense interest into sources of income.

For example, during my intense period of interest in food, I worked as a cook in restaurants.  As an avid computer game player, I managed to get a job as a game tester for a video game company.  While at the same company, I became interested in Information Technology and moved to the tech support department.  I even tried to get a job in a record store when I was totally obsessed with jazz and made enough money to pay for our moving van to California by selling some of my old comic books.

Mrs. Flannestad calls me a “conniver”.  I may not have had a career plan in mind at any point in my life, but somehow things do happen from time to time, which from the perspective of hindsight, look like some sort of twisted and rocky path.

Since becoming interested in cocktails, I’ve been trying to figure out some way to actually bring in some cash with whatever meager expertise I have accumulated in the field.

A number of folks have suggested that I write a book about the Savoy adventure.  Unfortunately, whenever I talk to friends who have actually written books, they tell me writing a book, is not, in fact, a very good way to make money.

From what I can tell, most blogs don’t really make money either.  Oh, a few, with tremendous readership may make their authors enough cash to get by.  Some “celebrity bloggers” may actually be rewarded well.  But really, is a geeky drink blog like mine going to have enough appeal to generate much ad revenue?  I suppose I could go for a sponsorship deal: “The Savoy Stomp, brought to you by Beefeater’s Gin”.  But then I would have to kowtow to some superior force instead of using whatever spirits I want.  No fun.

I could, I suppose, work in a liquor store.  But I already have a full time job during the hours that most liquor stores are open.  Besides, in my experience, retail doesn’t really pay that well for most employees.

Bartender, though?

There are a few things that appeal.  Being on the front lines of cocktail evangelism.  Doing something with my hands.  It’s a culinary profession.  It’s in food service, which I enjoyed previously.

Why not?  Most shifts are even at different times from my University job!

So here I am, working two jobs and trying to make my dream of supporting the Savoy blog and its expenses by working in a bar reality.

Is it fun?  Yes.  Is it rewarding?  Hell, yeah.

Is it hard?  Well, a bit. But it’s the only way I can think to get the experience.

MxMo XXIX–Vieux Carré Cocktail


One of my favorite New Orleans cocktails, after the Sazerac, is the Vieux Carré Cocktail.

According to Stanley Clisby Arthur in his book, “Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘Em,” the cocktail was invented by, “Walter Bergeron, head bartender of the Hotel Monteleone cocktail lounge,” and especially to honor the Vieux Carré, or old square, section of the city of New Orleans.

Clisby Arthur gives the recipe as follows:

1/2 teaspoon Benedictine
1 dash Peychaud bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters
1/3 jigger Rye whiskey
1/3 jigger Cognac Brandy
1/3 jigger Italian Vermouth

The Benedictine is used as a base and also for sweetening the cocktail. Dash on the bitters, then add the rye, brandy, and vermouth. Put several lumps of ice in the barglass. Stir. Twist a slice of lemon peel over the mixture. Drop in a slice of pineapple and a cherry if you wish and serve in mixing glass.

Personally, I tend to like the cocktail “up” instead of over ice, but follow his instructions as closely or as loosely as you prefer.

Now the fun thing about this cocktail is it is an example where two spirits work together beautifully.

It can be fun to experiment with your own variations, the only real rules being to include benedictine, bitters, and equal parts of two spirits and vermouth.

Here are a couple I’ve been pleased with:

Vieux Carré Variation 1

1 oz St. James Ambre Martinique Rhum
1 oz Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy
1 oz Punt e Mes
Dash Benedictine
Dash Peychaud’s

Stir, Strain into cocktail glass.

The scent of the apple brandy and earthiness of the rhum agricole are quite interesting. Very complex libation. I’m omitting the Angostura, as I’m using the more bitter Punt e Mes vermouth.

Vieux Carré Variation 2

1 oz Highland Park 12 Single Malt Scotch Whisky
1 oz Calvados Roger Groult, Réserve 3 years old
1 oz M&R Bianco Vermouth
Dash Benedictine
Dash Angostura
Dash Peychaud’s

Stir, strain, grapefruit peel twist.

And here’s a double taboo for you. Not only does this cocktail contain two spirits, one of them is a Single Malt Scotch Whisky! Horrors!

Vieux Carré Variation 3 was something of a disaster. Gin and Wheat Whiskey. I still swear it is salvageable, maybe with Oude Genever. One of these days I’ll get back to it.

Vieux Carré Variation 4, I present for your amusement.

Vieux Carré Variation 4

1 tsp Benedictine
1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters
3/4 oz Batavia Arrack von Osten
3/4 oz Tequila Corralejo Reposado
3/4 oz Cocchi Aperitivo Americano

Stir, strain, dust with freshly grated nutmeg.

I’ve been thinking about some way to combine Tequila and Batavia Arrack for a while now without much success. This cocktail is the closest I’ve come to a success so far. Maybe a bit single noted. Definitely a work in progress, but I find the interaction between the spice, tequila, and arrack promising.