You’ve heard of craft beer and craft spirits but now craft beer cocktails are set to shake up the drinks trade after our friends at The Clan Brewing Co teamed up with a cocktail business to produce a range of cocktails with whisky barrel-aged beer at their heart.
Glasgow-based beer company, The Clan Brewing Co, and hospitality business Raise the Bar Glasgow have collaborated to create a tailor-made range of eight craft beer cocktails.
The cocktails were created by mixologist and entrepreneur Dillon Barrie using the Clan’s four speciality beers, which have been aged for months in specially selected single malt whisky casks.
Mr Barrie said: “I’ve known about these whisky cask-aged beers for a while, and was really excited by the challenge of making unique cocktails out of these big beers! There’s layer and layer of flavour in these beers, and they actually lend themselves very well to cocktails. In the end, we created about 20 different cocktails but narrowed it down to a short-list of eight.”
Mr Barrie revealed that although lager has been a recipe in cocktails for decades, he was hoping to shake up the cocktail scene by using the Clan’s speciality whisky beers in future events. “Lagers and more recently IPAs feature in cocktails like the Lagerita but really they’re just there to top up the drink or maybe help balance other flavours. With this new range of craft beer cocktails, these beers, which all have their own unique and distinctive character, are at the heart of the creation.
“The beer flavours, the notes that have come from the wood, the hop profiles, these are all working together. I was impressed at how versatile they are and how they complement and enhance the various other flavours and ingredients I’ve added in these cocktails. I’m really excited by them. I can’t wait to see people’s reactions once restrictions caused by Covid-19 start to lift.”
Cocktail fans wanting to try the new tipples can check out the social accounts for Raise the Bar Glasgow and the Craft Beer Clan for the recipes, including the Imperial Iced Tea, made with the Clan’s 8% Imperial Stout aged in Lowland casks, or a Berry Rye Sling, made with the Clan’s 8% Red Rye Ale, which was aged in Speyside casks.
The Clan Brewing Co has already carved out a reputation for its innovative products and approach. Using a collaborative model, the Clan’s beers are brewed by Williams Brothers using recipes developed by Scott Williams, one of the pioneers of Scotland’s craft beer renaissance and co-founder of Williams. Each beer in the range – Imperial Stout, Red Rye, Golden Ale and Spruce Ale – is aged in a regional malt whisky casks selected by Master of the Quaich Charles MacLean, one of Scotland’s greatest whisky experts and who has spent a lifetime in the industry. MacLean chose each cask so the flavours left over from maturing whisky would add their own character to the beer. The casks themselves come from Lowland, Speyside, Highland and Islay distilleries.
Chris Miller, CEO of the Clan Brewing Co, said: “Collaboration is at the heart of the Clan Brewing Co, and this exciting partnership with Raise the Bar Glasgow is just the latest, and follows a series of commercial successes and awards, including seven medals at the European Beer Challenge, export breakthroughs in the USA and Japan, and sales deals with the likes of Amazon, Flavourly and Aldi.”
He added: “With the devastation caused by Covid-19 hitting the on-trade, many of us are deeply worried about the future of the industry. But it’s important to keep driving onwards, to diversify, to innovate and to challenge. Innovations such as craft beer cocktails are something we hope will help to entice people back into bars; while the bars that are seen to mix things up and come up with fresh ideas will surely be the bars that people return to.”
Mr Miller, who is credited with driving the whisky beer style during his time at Harviestoun, said: “With the Clan Brewing range, we carefully developed four recipes to work with the distinctive flavour notes of four whisky regions, and we worked closely with Charles MacLean to source the right casks. Not an easy task, but fortunately we had the expertise and experience of both Charles and Scott! The beers are themselves superb with high international demand, but the cocktails now add an extra dimension and I’m delighted by how they’ve turned out!”
Now on to the cocktails….
Berry Rye Sling – 50ml Rye Whiskey, 25ml Valentian Vermouth, 12.5ml Lime Juice, 2 dashes Bitters, 4 Blackberries, shaken with cubed ice, strained over crushed and topped with Red Rye before before being garnished with blackberries
Rye Five! – 50ml Rum, 25ml Fino Sherry, 20ml Valentian Vermouth, 12.5ml Maraschino Syrup, 50ml Red Rye, all stirred down with cubed ice and strained into a glass without ice before being garnished with a cherry
The Grape Finalè – 37.5ml Whisky, 25ml Peach Schnapps, 25ml Fino Sherry, 50ml Grapefruit Juice, 50ml Golden Ale, all shaken and strained into a small glass over crushed ice and garnished with pink grapefruit.
Passion Ale – 37.5ml Tequila, 25ml Cointreau, 25ml Passionfruit Puree, 25ml Lemon Juice, 2 teaspoons of sugar all shaken up with cubed ice before being strained into a tall glass over cubed ice. Top up with Golden Ale and serve.
Holy Smokes – 37.5ml Rhubarb Gin, 25ml Licor 43, 50ml Spruce Ale stirred with cubed ice. Smoke with cherry oak and then serve.
Bee’s Knees – 37.5ml Islay Whisky, 50ml Cream, 25ml Lemon Juice, 12.5ml Honey, 50ml Spruce Ale all shaken up with cubed ice and fine strained into a martini glass.
Imperial’s Breakfast – 37.5ml Bacon Washed Bourbon, 25ml Coffee Liqueur, 25ml Licor 43, 50ml Imperial Stout all stirred down with cubed ice and strained into a small glass over cubed ice before being garnished with a cherry.
Imperial Iced Tea – 37.5ml Tequila, 25ml Lime Juice, 50ml Jasmine Tea and a pinch of Chinese 5 Spice all shaken up with cubed ice and strained into a tall glass with cubed ice. Top up with Imperial Stout and garnish with a lemon.