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Blackberries and Beer, Together At Last

The Sloe Work Day from the book Beer Cocktails, by Howard & Ashley Stelzer

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Today’s cocktail comes from the new book Beer Cocktails, by Howard & Ashley Stelzer. I’m really enjoying the book and its unique approach to beer cocktails.

The drinks are divided into recipe categories by beer type: lagers, Belgian/trappist ales, stouts and porters, and other dark beers. They include ingredients like root beer liqueur, mezcal, and pistachio liqueur to go along with the brews, plus lots of fresh ingredients like herbs and berries. Many beer cocktails feel a bit forced, but these flavor combinations are pretty fun and I look forward to trying more of them out.

But let’s start with one: the Sloe Work Day. This drink combines the tart berry flavor of sloe gin (try to find Plymouth or The Bitter Truth brand if you can) and adds blackberry puree to double-down on the berries. The drink is then brightened with lemon juice and elderflower liqueur and instead of soda water or ginger ale, an India Pale Ale beer is used as a filler. IPA beers tend to be a bit bitter from hops used in them, so these stand as a nice counterbalance to all the fruit in the drink. 

But I’ll let the authors describe it in their own words: 



Y’know, our day jobs are pretty intense. We don’t ever have days when we’re not extremely, nonstop busy. We like it that way. But we remember when we had regular desk jobs, and sometimes . . . well, sometimes it was just a slow day. Those days were kinda nice. We could breathe, clean our cubicle, and finally get to those tasks we put off because we were just too darn busy. Since we don’t have days like that anymore, we invented a slow work day of our own. This drink has a gorgeous deep purple color and a pleasing dryness that respects the flavors of the IPA. We think it’s delicious, and now it’s official: Sloe Work Day was declared the winner of the Summer 2011 “Brew Something New” Craft Beer Cock-tail Contest, held at Scholars American Bistro and Cocktail Lounge in Boston!


2 fl. oz.  Blackberry Puree (see Note) 
1.5 fl. oz.  Sloe Gin 
.75 fl. oz. St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur 
.5 fl. oz. Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice 
4 fl. oz. India Pale Ale 
1 Mint Sprig, For Garnish 

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the blackberry puree, sloe gin, St-Germain, and lemon juice. Shake well. Strain into a Collins glass. Top with the IPA, garnish with the mint sprig, and serve. 

Note: Whir 1 cup fresh blackberries in your blender to yield 2 ounces puree. If fresh blackberries aren’t in season, either frozen berries or frozen puree will work nicely here. 

The above recipe was printed with permission from Beer Cocktails by Howard & Ashley Stelzer, Harvard Common Press, 2012. 




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