Tag Archives: beer cocktails

Savoury cocktails for summer

Patio season has officially begun and cocktail lovers are looking for easy and delicious recipes for summer sipping. A huge trend this year is savoury cocktails — balanced drinks that go beyond fruity (and beyond that Canadian savoury stand-by, the Caesar) to incorporate herbal, vegetal, smoky or even salty flavours.

I appeared on CTV Calgary this morning to talk (and make) savoury cocktails that are crowd pleasers and super easy to execute. CTV host Aisling Tomei and I worked our way through a Smoky Hot Pepper Negroni with Campari, Cinzano Rosso and mezcal; a refreshing Amber Road with Aperol and Wild Turkey bourbon; and a beer cocktail featuring Innis & Gunn Lager.

Mixing savoury summer cocktails with Aisling Tomei. Her favourite was the Amber Road. Mine? The Smoky Hot Pepper Negroni!

Mixing savoury summer cocktails with Aisling Tomei. Her favourite was the Amber Road. Mine? The Smoky Hot Pepper Negroni!

I’ve included the recipes below. Enjoy!

Smoky Hot Pepper Negroni

Description: This savoury sipper is a twist on a classic Negroni, using smoky mezcal instead of gin, and adding a hit of habanero syrup for heat.

If you don’t want to make your own Negroni, check out Negroni Week in Calgary, happening June 6-12, where 28 Calgary bars are featuring the cocktail, and donating sales proceeds to the charity of their choice. It’s a great opportunity to drink for a cause!

This twist on a Negroni uses smoky mezcal, which stands up beautifully to the bitter Campari.

This twist on a Negroni uses smoky mezcal, which stands up beautifully to the bitter Campari.

Recipe:

  • 1 oz mezcal
  • 1 oz Cinzano Rosso sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 oz Campari
  • 1 tsp habanero simple syrup*
  • Garnish: Dried chili pepper

Method: In a mixing glass combine mezcal, Cinzano Rosso, Campari and habanaro simple syrup. Add ice and stir until drink is well chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over a large cube of ice, and garnish with a dried chili pepper.

*Habanero simple syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 habanero peppers, quartered

Method: Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add peppers and simmer for up to 10 minutes (periodically check syrup to see how spicy it’s becoming). When desired spiciness is reached, remove from heat and strain out peppers. Store the syrup in the fridge in a sealed container.

Amber Road

Description: Tart and slightly bitter. with natural sweetness from the bourbon and maple syrup, this light summer spritz is just the thing for those patio afternoons.

Long and fizzy, this twist on an Aperol spritz is delicious.

Long and fizzy, this twist on an Aperol spritz is delicious.

Recipe:

  • 1-1/2 oz Wild Turkey 81 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon
  • 1 oz Aperol
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz maple syrup
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • Top soda water
  • Garnish: Mint sprig

Method: Combine Wild Turkey, Aperol, lemon juice, maple syrup and Angostura bitters in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake, then strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Top with about 2 ounces of soda water and garnish with a mint sprig.

Salted Lager Scotch-tail

Description: A float of peated whisky stands up to this robust lager and —  along with the salted rim —  adds a layer of Scottish intrigue to this beer cocktail, while keeping it light and fresh for summer.

Beer cocktails and savoury cocktails like this one are on-trend. The Salted Innis & Gunn Scotch-tail is smoky, salty and refreshing.

Beer cocktails and savoury cocktails like this one are on-trend. The Salted Innis & Gunn Scotch-tail is smoky, salty and refreshing. Pair with peanuts.

Recipe:

  • 1/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup (1:1 water-to-sugar ratio)
  • 250mL Innis & Gunn Lager
  • Float of peated whisky (about 1/4 to 1/2 oz, depending on desired smokiness)
  • Garnish: Lemon wheel

Method: Salt the rim of a rocks glass with Himalayan sea salt, then add a large sphere of ice. Build the drink in  the glass and garnish with a lemon wheel.

Drink of the Week: Michelada

A nice, cold beer is a beautiful thing when bowling your way to a sad 125 at the newly-opened bowling alley at National on 10th in Calgary. But I have to say that a tequila-spiked, Mexican beer cocktail called the Michelada does a far better job of numbing the sour taste of bowling defeat.

Mexico's favourite hangover cure, the Michelada, also comes in handy when drowning bowling sorrows.

Mexico’s favourite hangover cure, the Michelada, also comes in handy when drowning bowling sorrows.

The drink is but one Mexican-themed cocktail featured on the bowling alley menu. There’s also a margarita, a paloma (like a grapefruit margarita, but with fizz), and two cocktails made with mezcal, another agave spirit with a smoky flavour. Bartender Stephen Phipps took some liberties with the menu and created a couple of fun sips like the fan favourite Jesus Quintana (like a pisco sour, with chili bitters) and Orale! (rum, Mexican cola, lime and mole bitters). The drinks complement the Mexican street food eats and are priced to match ($10 to $12).

We spent a fun evening throwing balls down one of eight lanes inside the eagerly-anticipated space located in the basement of the National on 10th beer hall, opened back in April. I’ve always found bowling alleys to be somewhat dreary and creepy places, so it’s refreshing to hang out in a hip one that features fare beyond hot dogs, greasy fries and mass market suds.

Sadly, I was only able to sample a handful of the drinks at the opening party, but I’ll be back to try the rest… and to work on my bowling game (I’m gunning for a 300, baby!).

Bowling in the basement at National on 10th is a fun way to spend an evening.

Bowling in the basement at National on 10th is a fun way to spend an evening.

Micheleda

  • 1 oz El Jimador tequila
  • 2 oz Grizzly Paw grapefruit soda
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 drop Maggi liquid seasoning (like “Worcestershire on steroids,” according to the bartender)
  • 3 drops Cholula hot sauce
  • Top Phillips Analogue 78 Kolsch beer

Shake all ingredients together with ice except beer. Strain into a chilled pint glass and top with Phillips Analogue 78 Kolsch.

— Recipe courtesy Colton Hogg, National on 10th