Hybrids tend to fail egregiously as a general rule. Consider the silliness of the spork, the mullet and canned beer-rita as prime examples. I’ll pause while you shudder. Go on.
That said, a mashup in the right hands can be brilliant. When I approached Sean Larkin, major domo behind many of the great suds in this state, to create something new for us this month – he suggested something hybrid-like. He envisioned something that would marry the classic, moody Old Fashioned with one of his brighter beers, for something sunny that retains a bite.
Were he a run-of-the-mill brewer I’d have been nervous. Luckily, he isn’t, so I was not. Full disclosure: I’ve been a friend and fan since my fake ID-wielding years, having learned that one should shut up and drink whatever the man is pouring.
Out of his tinkering came the Blood and Bourbon, which steers the Old Fashioned in a tropical-ish direction. (Stay with me, purists. It works.) The base is Sean’s unfiltered Conga Imperial Ale, a favorite in his Revival Brewing Co. lineup, which has strong passion fruit, mango and citrus notes thanks to its hops blend. To that is added the nominal “blood” from blood orange peel, bourbon and a dash of lemongrass bitters.
Order it barside all month at Brutopia in Cranston, which serves up Larkin’s Revival beers. Or, grab a growler of Conga and make it at home.
Blood and Bourbon
At Brutopia, Sean and crew make their lemongrass bitters in-house. Enterprising home bartenders can do the same – or, for those who want this drink in their gullet stat, there’s always a retail solution. The Bitter End’s Thai-style bitters are a solid choice, and nice to have on hand for peak gin-and-tonic season.
Using a spoon, mix the beer and bourbon with ice in a shaker. Do not shake.
Muddle the orange peel, bitters and sugar in a rocks glass with a splash of bourbon. Strain the beer mixture into the glass, and float the blood orange slice in it. Sip and sigh happily.
505 Atwood Avenue, Cranston