We recently received some samples of Innis & Gunn barrel aged beer from Scotland (see our samples policy to understand what it means that we’re posting about them). Since we now had some beer to play with, we decided to experiment with shandies. A shandy is a cocktail created from beer mixed with another beverage. Normally they are considered a drink for warmer weather, but we decided to see if we could come up with some more robust drinks appropriate for the season.
We received three sample bottles. One oak barrel aged, one rum barrel aged and a toasted oak IPA. We started pulling bottles from the liquor cabinet and mixing with each of them to see what paired well. For the rum barrel aged, it seemed obvious that we should pair it with rum. Turns out we were right. 😉
- 1 1/2 oz gold rum (a sweeter style is recommended)
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 3 oz barrel aged beer (rum barrel aged)
- 2 oz sparkling wine
Make a large lemon twist, rub it on the glass rim, drop it into the glass. Stir first two ingredients with ice. Strain into a glass. Top with beer and and then sparkling wine.
- Nose: Lemon, caramel, molasses. Toasty, malty cereal. Light, acidic wine notes. Hint of tobacco.
- Palate: Toasty cereal notes, sweetened with caramel and molasses to start. Lemon and acidic wine on the mid-palate. Interesting finish with hoppy, bitter aromatic notes balanced with barrel sweetness from the rum and more lemon. Toasty herbal tobacco on the finish. Nice balance between the rum and beer providing darker, richer flavors and the lemon and wine bringing brighter, more acidic notes.
For the next cocktail, we decided to noodle with some saffron simple syrup that we’ve been wanting to try in a cocktail. After trying it with gin, we found that things got a little too muddied, so we went for vodka instead for a more neutral flavor. We tend to go for the artisan vodkas that have a decent amount of grain notes though, which paired well with the beer.
- 1 tsp saffron simple (we used the Royal Rose, though it’s easy enough to make your own)
- 1 oz vodka
- 1 dash Angostura
- 3 oz barrel aged beer (oak barrel)
Stir first 3 ingredients with ice. Strain into a glass. Top with beer.
- Nose: Saffron (sweet for Shaun), lot of hops (saffron seems to pull them out), mild, grain-y cereal notes. Touch of black pepper and cloves. Honey.
- Palate: Saffron and cereal to start (like saffron rice), then aromatic bitterness from the hops. Mid-palate is smooth, sweet, malty cereal plus honey sweetness. Finish is a malty, bitter bite. Saffron notes underpin the cocktail throughout.
- 3/4 oz lime juice
- 1/3 oz simple syrup
- 1 oz rye (we strongly recommend the Angel’s Envy)
- 3 oz toasted oak aged IPA
Shake first 3 ingredients with ice. Strain into a glass. Top with beer. Garnish with a lime wheel.
- Nose: Lime, maple and brown sugar from the Angel’s Envy, toasted coconut cereal or cookies. Lime jelly candy. Resin notes.
- Palate: Opens with sweet coconut-brown sugar cereal. Huge zing of lime in the middle. Dry, acidic, bitter finish. Sweet notes return with clear maple and brown sugar on the aftertaste.
Shandies are more than a little old-fashioned, and certainly not something you see every day. But we’re very happy to have experimented with them, as the combination of the rich cereal/bitter hop flavors of the beer lend themselves nicely to creating some complex, fizzy (fizzy never hurts!) cocktails that can please a wide range of palates.