Tag Archives: alcohol

Sour Beers for Summertime Refreshment

As pickled and preserved homegrown-foods continue to grow in popularity, it’s only natural that beverages with similar flavor profiles and origins would become more popular, too.

We recently highlighted shrub cocktails, the pre-colonial era, vinegar-based mixers and mixed drinks that are bubbling under the trend radar, but they’re not the only sour offering available at the bar. Sour beer recipes originating from 18th century Europe (and earlier) have a growing fan base among trend-driving craft beer aficionados all across America.

Sour beer served in snifters

“Sour” beers aren’t necessarily sour in flavor. They’re tart, fruity, and crisp, made so by bacteria added after the fermenting process. Before modern, sterile food processing became the norm, wild yeast and bacteria were just part of the beer brewing process. Today, most brewers who create sour beer add select souring agents in a fairly controlled fashion, but there are some who stick with tradition, allowing natural bacteria and yeast to work their unpredictable magic.

The dog days of summer are near, get to know what sour beers are available from your local craft brewers and lock in a selection for your own beer menu. Their crisp flavors, effervescence, and traditionally low alcohol by volume are ideal for craft beer aficionados who like to while away hot summer days at their favorite watering hole. Pilsner glasses suffice for serving sour beers, but flutes can highlight their coolness and carbonation, and snifters can intensify their aromas.

History & How-To: Shrub Cocktails

Ruth Hartnup, Flickr Commons

Bar owners and restaurateurs nationwide began reinventing the Prohibition Era speak easy quite a few years ago, launching a craze for classic cocktails and the dashing mustachioed barkeeps who create them. But naturally, as when any style trend becomes conventional, foodie taste makers have had to move on to something new… or, in this case, truly old.

Introducing the shrub, a drink recipe colonial Americans brought with them from England.

A shrub is an alcoholic or non-alcoholic mixed drink built on the flavor of a shrub syrup (aka “a shrub”), which is a reduction of fruit, vinegar, and sweetener.

Shrub syrups are ideal for making use of cosmetically imperfect produce or an over-abundant harvest, something chefs new to managing their own farm-to-table yields may find valuable again here in the 21st century. Though the syrup is traditionally prepared with equal parts vinegar, sugar, and fruit, the possible flavor combinations are limitless when vegetables, herbs, and spices are used in addition to, or in place of, the fruit.

How To Make a Shrub Syrup:

Combine 1 part fruit and 1 part sugar, allow to rest until sugar has dissolved and combined with fruit juices to create a syrup. This could take up to a few days. Strain out the solids. Add 1 part vinegar and let the mixture mellow to taste. Once it’s ready, add it to this simple cocktail recipe.

Fruit Shrub Spritzer Recipe:

The Halloween Drink Guide

halloween drink guide
Halloween is on the way, and you’re likely rocking the celebrations all month long. From featuring ghoulish treats and dishes on the menu all month long to running promotions and celebrations, this month leading up to the holiday and festivities can be a chance for creativity in the kitchen. You can try to be a bit creative with your drinks as well, offering limited run, Halloween-themed drinks in your restaurant. What do you need to do to take advantage of alcohol and liquor sales in your restaurant?

Stock up on Fall Seasonal Beers

It’s not just that local Atlanta beers are apparently the only beer in the horror-themed The Walking Dead, with Terrapin, Jailhouse, and SweetWater making appearances in the season four premiere; there’s a host of fall-focused beers that work perfectly for your restaurant (and if you want to do an “As Seen Next To The Shambling Corpses of Zombies On The Walking Dead” promotion, all the better for entertainment sake). Check with your beer distributors to see what pumpkin flavored, fall themed, and hearty drinks you have available to you for the colder months.

Get Creative with Vodka, Whiskey, Rum, Tequila, and More

There’s a special world inside each bottle of vodka you stock, and it’s one that brings out best and brightest flavors of your favorite candies. Serious Eats has a guide to infusing vodka with the flavors (which is a good usage of mason jars you may want to stock up on). The guideline is largely simple and up for experimentation; pour your liquor into a container, toss a few candies that may pair well with it in, and let it sit until the flavors are dissolved into the mixture, adding into it. Once the mass of candy has dissolved, take out the solid remains, filter, and have some Milky Ways-infused rum or Hot Tamales-infused vodka.

Make a Smoldering Cauldron with Dry Ice

Restaurants can get a bit creative with dry ice, giving the illusion of smoke and steam coming off of a fresh bowl of drinks. Making a punch for all ages (or going alcoholic for adult crowds) can be a good start, and safely adding dry ice to the concoction can add a memorable effect for drinkers. Make sure to handle the dry ice carefully, using tongs and gloves; the danger of dry ice comes from the intense cold of the bricks. Still, don’t let anyone ingest dry ice or touch it directly.

Creepy Crawly Surprises

Add some gummy worms to drinks and cocktails; with a bit of worm sticking out of a tumbler, customers can use it both as a swizzle stick and as a little treat at the end of the drink. Frozen gummy candies can also work as substitute ice cubes, with little chance to melt. It’ll put a whole new meaning to “drinking the worm” when it comes to tequila!

Get creative and scary with the holidays, just remember to keep it safe as well.