Concocting beer cocktails is kind of like creating DJ music. Not only are you setting the pace and flow of your guests' night, but you're also mashing up and integrating disparate elements into a cohesive whole. Mixing beer with liquor isn't an easy task. The bartender must understand the flavor profile of the beer and how it might provide compliment or contrast to spirits and additives. Creating a harmonious union of flavors is a process of trial and error ("reeeeeeeemix!"), and many people erroneously default to simply using beer as filler in a cocktail. When it comes to shaking up beer and booze, we've come to trust Jasper's Corner Tap Bartender (read: "Mixmaster") Kevin Diedrich.
Diedrich's mainstay beer cocktail, the Wiessen Sour, is a seamless blend of Wild Turkey 81 Bourbon, lemon, orange marmalade, house orange bitters, and Belgian witbier. Two more seasonal beer cocktails have recently been added, both of which mesh nicely with the cooler weather and are sure to warm the cockles of your liver.
The first, simply called the Rum Shaker, is a deft blend of Bacardi 8 Rum, Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin Ale, lime, pumpkin syrup, cream, egg white, and orange flower water. The drink resembles a tall cappuccino with a silky tan body and foamy white head dusted with winter spices. While you might expect a heavy cocktail experience given the egg white and cream, the drink is nicely balanced. The caramelized brown sugar notes in the rum mix nicely with the nutmeg-forward spicing of the beer, while the lime and orange flower water serve to cut through the full mouthfeel and lighten up the flavors of the drink. Overall, the cocktail has one foot firmly in the fall, with the other still managing to dangle its toes in the waters of an Indian summer afternoon by the pool.
The second beery addition to the menu is the 6ft High and Rising, a mixture of Jasper's own proprietary Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon, Cio Cara Amaro, Drake's Denogginizer Double IPA, Rocky's Bitters, and Angostura Bitters. This take on an Old Fashioned makes use of the strong caramel malt backbone of the Denogginizer brew as a sweet balancing agent, while the hops provide a citrusy, piney punch that integrates well with the herbal notes in the Amaro and the aromatic quality of the bitters. For fans of dark, spirit-driven cocktails, we highly recommend this drink.
Whether you're a fan of beer, liquor, or both, you won't be disappointed with Diedrich's work. Just don't ask him for a song request or "shout out" when you approach the bar. He's not that kind of mixmaster.