Beer is a fantastic cocktail ingredient. It can add all sorts of complicated flavors – sweet, bitter, malty – as well as volume and carbonation. But sometimes you want all those flavors without volume and carbonation. Enter beer syrup, a way of transforming beer into a more traditional cocktail ingredient. I was delighted to discover beer syrups recently and wanted to share the results of my first experiment: the light but complex Spring Fling. – Andrew
Illustration by Shauna Lynn for Oh So Beautiful Paper
The Spring Fling
1 1/2 oz Tequila
1 oz Hops Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice
2 Dashes Chocolate Mole Bitters
To make the hops syrup: empty a bottle of IPA or another very hoppy beer into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Quickly reduce the heat and simmer the beer until it has reduced by about a third to a half, about twenty to thirty minutes. Pour the beer into a measuring cup and figure out how much you have left, then return it to the pan and add an equal amount of sugar. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let the syrup cool, pour it into a bottle, and keep it in the refrigerator.
Combine all your ingredients over ice and stir. Strain over fresh ice and enjoy.
Hops are used to flavor and preserve beer. They add bitterness but also complex floral flavors to beer, in addition to their antibacterial flavors. (Hops are actually grown around the world just for this one purpose: beer.) An IPA or another similarly hoppy beer can make for a syrup that is bitter sweet but also conveys a lot of very interesting and unusual flavors.
Tequila’s earthy botanicals are a good match for the hops syrup, and the lime adds a sharp, citrusy finish to round it out. Most recipes with citrus involve shaking, to ensure the juice is blended evenly, but I recommend stirring here. The flavors of the hops syrup are delicate and stirring will add less water than shaking, diluting the drink less and helping the delicate flavors of the hops syrup to stand out.
I haven’t tried it yet, but I don’t doubt this recipe would benefit from another splash of fresh beer at the end, to add a bit of effervescence. Perfect for this gorgeous spring we’re finally having.
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper