Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How to Make Beer Even Better

How to Make Beer Even Better

Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “Beer is awesome.  God made it on the 4th day and it’s perfect.”  And I agree- beer is effing great.  In this post I’m going to share some things that I’ve been playing with (and loving) to make a good beer even better or a crap beer OK.  So crack a cold one and lets go!

I like Blue Moon and have always found it interesting that it is probably the only widely distributed beers that is garnished with an orange.  One day it came to me to throw some triple sec in it.  The result: delicious. It tastes like orange soda and is stronger than normal beer.  Then I didn’t think much about adding cocktail ingredients to beer for a long time. 

A little while ago I was in Hawaii and got introduced to a local brand called Kona Brewing Company.  If you haven’t had their beer, try it- it’s great.  My favorite of these was their Pipeline Porter, which is a coffee flavored porter.  Once I was back home in DC, I bought a 6 pack of Pipeline Porter and started getting creative.  I had some vanilla vodka sitting around that I use in my Smurf cocktail and decided to mix the two.  One Pipeline Porter mixed with ¾ to 1 ounce of vanilla vodka is fantastic.  It’s called Hawaiian Christmas.

In case you couldn’t see it coming, the way to make beer even better is to add ¾ to 1 ounce of vodka.  And not only does adding vodka make beer even more awesome, it makes it stronger. I’ve recently started experimenting with all kinds of combinations of beers and vodkas.  My favorite types of beers to use are stouts and porters but others work too.  My favorite vodkas to add are vanilla, espresso or chocolate.  These are my go-to flavored vodkas, but lots of different ones will work.

Lets explore some good combinations, shall we?
Pipeline Porter + Vanilla Vodka
Chocolate Beer + Espresso Vodka
Vanilla Beer + Chocolate Vodka
Chocolate Beer + Chocolate Vodka
Pumpkin Beer + Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie Vodka
Pumpkin Beer + Pinnacle Whipped Vodka
Light Beer + Citrus Vodka
Blue Moon + Orange Vodka
Fruity Wheat Beer + Peach Vodka


The combinations are endless. I’ve talked about adding vodka to beer in this post, but you can also add tequila, rum or any other cocktail ingredient you fancy.   Lastly, be careful- these drinks are good ways to get a hangover- read this post to arm yourself.

Enjoy!
David

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Whiskey Stones

Whiskey Stones

Picture this. You are at a fancy soiree. Someone breaks out an 18 year scotch. Your fellow party goers are impressed and you get excited.  You love scotch.  That person starts pouring.  You’re lucky enough to get a glass for yourself.  You take a sip and it’s warm. This elegant drink burns.  It’s hard to enjoy so you start to feel guilty. You think you should love it but you don’t.  You cave and turn to the person next to you who also got some, “hey, do you know where I can get some ice?” while making a subtle gesture towards your glass.

They quickly glance at you and then your glass. You hear a forced “dunno”. You see a flicker of judgment and slight disgust in their face.  You understand.  You’re trying to hide your embarrassment.  You know that you shouldn’t have done it.  You tried to put ice in nice liquor. 

For those of you that have had a similar experience, you know that it is, in technical bartender terms, bullshit.  It sucks when you have great liquor in your cup but it’s warm- like heated up warm.  Or tastes too boozy.  Or just plain burns.  So you suck it up and drink it anyway, pretending to enjoy it.  Or you put ice in the glass and everyone judges you.  Either one blows.  It happens to the best of us.  It’s happened to me.  Has it ever happened to you?  Be proud.

Thanks to modern science and industrialization, I have found an answer.  And I am sure that I am late to the party in hearing about this miraculous invention.  They are whiskey stones.  Have you ever used these?  They rock, no pun intended. 

You can use them instead of ice.  They slightly chill your drink, taking away some of the burn, making it smoother and actually open up the flavor of your whiskey, bourbon or scotch.  They also make you a less likely target to be judged, maybe even admired for your ingenuity.

By slightly cooling your drink, it gets more delicious and easier to drink without watering down or “ruining” the liquor.  When you try to do this with ice, you are accused of being a “bitch”.  But no such accusation can be used if you use whiskey stones.  You are all of a sudden cutting edge. A connoisseur.  Trendy even. 
                                                           
However, avoiding scorn and looking like the superhero of getting crunk off of fancy shit isn’t the only reason to abandon the ice and drop a couple of whiskey stones into your drink.  It really does suck when your drink is watery towards the end.  Whiskey stones actually make your drink taste better. As I mentioned above, they help to unlock your fancy bourbon’s flavor.  That and you have to put up with less shit from others.  It’s win-win.

So, if you really want to make the high quality liquor fan in your family (or me) really happy during this holiday season, buy some whiskey stones for that person. A great place to buy these is a store in Dupont in DC called tabletop.  Check it out.

David