The Super Bowl Tipple: Tailgater’s Toddy

Tailgater's Toddy

Hang onto your helmets, Boozers. Yep, it’s time for that most hallowed of all American days: Super Bowl Sunday. Even as we write, tortilla chips are being crisped for homemade queso, pots of Mom’s secret chili are bubbling, and charcuterie enthusiasts are eagerly stuffing sausage casings. Let the games begin.

We’re pretty sure that you can’t enjoy football without a beer — or two — and a nice cold one can be tasty when you’re tucked up by the telly with a plate of nachos. But what if you’re tailgating in Arizona with a portable barbecue brimming with Southwestern Wings? Time for a Tailgater’s Toddy, even if the temps are balmy by Boston and Seattle standards.

If you’ve ever trekked through the frosty Eastern European countryside and stopped off at a roadside pub, then you’ll have encountered what can only be described as mulled beer — basically a strong beer that has been simmered with spices and is served warm in a large mug. The flavor is smooth and dark and brimming over with bone-warming richness; with the explosion of craft breweries across the United States, it’s easy to find a lovely local amber or brown ale or perhaps even a porter to serve as the base for this brew. We also add just a tot of brandy, although a bit of bourbon would do just as nicely — it helps ease the pain, just in case your team doesn’t grab that trophy. Touchdown!

Tailgater’s Toddy

We like to use a beer that is somewhat malty but with a bite of hops to it — basically providing a balance of bitter and sweet that melds with the fruit and spices. Check out your local brewery and pick up a growler or two to bring home — brewers love to talk about flavor profiles and can suggest which of their beers will work best in this recipe.

4 cups beer

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 slice of fresh ginger, about an inch in diameter

2 wedges of apple, such as Granny Smith

1 small orange, sliced in half

2 TB honey (an orange blossom honey is nice if you have it)

1/4 cup brandy or bourbon (we used Catoctin Creek’s Pearousia Brandy for an extra kick of fruit)

Orange wedges for garnish (optional)

Put all ingredients except brandy into a 4-quart saucepan and simmer over very low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from heat and add brandy just before serving in mugs or heat-proof glasses with a wedge of orange. Serves 2 – 4; okay, maybe just 1.

Published in: on January 31, 2015 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Friday Tipple: Celebration Shot

Celebrate good times, Boozers. June is a month often jam-packed with family celebrations — graduations, weddings, anniversaries — and the parties can seem non-stop. We don’t mind, as we enjoy a good reunion, and the options for tasty beverages tend to explode as early summer produce starts to hit the streets. A charming little piece of fruit called a champagne mango made its way into our bar recently and it just seemed to cry out for some special treatment. Hence, the Celebration Shot.

There’s nothing more fun than toasting good times with a brimming shot glass, but slugging down straight whiskey or tequila in the warm June sunshine seems like a family brawl just waiting to happen. We chose instead to temper such firewater with seasonal flavors that also create a nice palate cleanser for barbecued ribs and Grandma’s famous potato salad. So treat the relatives to a special toast of good times and remember that today’s not the day to remind your brother-in-law that he still owes you fifty bucks. Alla famiglia!

Celebration Shot

The trick to making this shot refreshing is to pour some of the whiskey-mint infusion into the bottom of the shot glasses and then place them in the freezer for about 30 minutes — just long enough to make it very cold and create a light frost across the surface. Once you add the mango-tequila mixture on top, it will melt the frost so that it can all be swallowed down quickly, or even sipped. The recipe below should yield about 4 shots.

1/2 cup white or clear unaged whiskey (we like Catoctin Creek Mosby’s Spirit)

1/2 cup packed clean fresh mint leaves

scant teaspoon light agave nectar

2 mangos, peeled and cut into chunks (yes, you can use defrosted frozen mango if you can’t find fresh)

1/2 cup silver tequila

Place the whiskey, mint leaves, and agave nectar in a blender and blend on high until the leaves are completely broken down and the liquid is a fresh green color. Set aside. Then place the mango chunks and tequila in a clean blender and blend on high until liquefied. Pour through a strainer to remove any chunks and set aside.

To assemble the shot: put about 1 ounce of the whiskey-mint infusion in the bottom of a shot glass and put in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then add 1.5 ounces of the mango-tequila infusion on top and drink up.