Entrepreneur. Cocktail and spirit champion. Old world wine provocateur.
Beer cocktails are all the rage these days. Given the natural progression of the craft beer and craft cocktail movements, it’s not altogether surprising. The primary direction for beer cocktails tends to be a lager or wheat beer to showcase interesting liquor combinations. This works well and the end result are complex cocktails with great flavor profiles.
I’ve been working on a few new beer cocktails myself, but I’m taking a slightly different approach, as I’m working on pairing with an IPA. This is not entirely new or novel. People have done it and done it successfully, but it’s not nearly as common of a pairing.
Nevertheless, after a bit of tinkering, I’ve found a formula that seems to be working and it includes hop infused gin.
I was looking for a hop profile had some earthy and piney notes, with hits of citrus. But I didn’t want an all citrus hop like Cascade or Citra. Chinooks are known for their bittering qualities, although in this type of application bitterness isn’t a primary concern. In order for alpha acids to isomerize and impart bitterness to a liquid, they need to be boiled for a significant amount of time, usually about 30 minutes. Hence, in homebrewing, the bittering hops are put in the kettle first. You can pull a mild amount of bitterness from hops via a cold infusion, but it won’t overwhelm.
The most popular beer that uses Chinook hops, at least according to urban legend as their recipes are secret, is Stone Arrogant Bastard. Arrogant Bastard is an aggressively bittered beer from an aggressive brewery, and its pretty delicious to boot. But I digress…
I let the Chinook hops sit in my gin for 36 hours. I used less than 1/4 of an ounce of hops and about 8 ounces of Bluecoat American Dry Gin. After 36 hours, I strained the hops and was left with a lovely green tinted, botancial-forward, citrus and piney smelling gin. Good stuff.
There will be more to come on this cocktail once its finalized, but for now, let it be known that the first cocktail included gin, lemon, honey, and IPA. It needs balance, but it’s not far off. Stay tuned for details and the recipe to follow.