Over the past few years, bartenders have been using wine or beer in place of water to make syrups for cocktails. As these syrups usually reduce the quantity of liquid by half or more, they concentrate the flavor of the beer or wine.
Thus, they're particularly good when made from interesting starting ingredients- and they're a great way to get your beer-or-wine snob friends to try your cocktails.
In the recipe for the Marshall Manhattan from Nick's Cove Restaurant, Oyster Bar & Cottages on Tomales Bay near San Francisco, Dean Castelli starts with a dark oatmeal stout and adds wintery spices - cloves, cinnamon, and allspice. Once reduced, it tastes a little smoky and a just slightly bitter, with a nice warmth from those spices.
Castelli uses the syrup instead of vermouth in a version Manhattan, but you could just as easily use it in an Old Fashioned - just use the same recipe, with a little less syrup, and serve it over a big ice cube.
By Dean Castelli of Nick's Cove
2 fl. oz. St. George Breaking and Entering Bourbon
.75 fl. oz. spiced stout syrup*
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Spiced or Brandied Cherries for garnish
Combine the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice cubes. Stir and strain in a cocktail glass. Garnish with cherries.
*Spiced Stout Syrup
12 fl. oz. Anderson Valley "Barney Flats" Oatmeal Stout
.5 cup granulated sugar
2 Whole Cloves
1 Cinnamon Stick
.25 teaspoon Allspice Powder
Zest of One-quarter of Lemon
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
In a saucepan, bring all ingredients to a simmer for 20 minutes, allow to cool and strain.