Review: Skyy Infusions Bartlett Pear Vodka

Sorry, Bosc! The latest Skyy vodka flavor is designed to taste like Bartlett pears — Bartletts only!

What does one do with pear vodka? Well, try it in anything where you’d otherwise use apple, for starters. Or check out the cocktails at the end of the post for additional ideas.

Pear-flavored spirits always come across a bit funky to me, and Skyy Pear is no exception. Though lightly sweet with honey and vague pear notes, the nose is a touch medicinal and slightly rubbery. This fades with some time, so consider letting your cocktails air out a bit by pre-mixing without ice before finishing them in the glass.

On the palate, the honey-syrup sweetness endures, the body quite heavy with pear notes, and considerably less tart than an apple vodka would present, with a bit of a caramel character afterimage. There’s still a little hospital funk on the finish — though not as much as the nose might suggest — as here it comes across closer to a character of perfume or white flowers. All told it’s a unique set of flavors — and a set that is distinctly pear-focused.

Overall the finished product is not bad at all, though as you may have already guessed, the versatility of this spirit is likely to be somewhat limited.

70 proof.

B / $15 / skyy.com

A selection of cocktails using Skyy Pear, from Otis Florence…

The Bartlett Bee
2 oz Skyy Infusions Bartlett Pear
.75 oz honey & water 1:1
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Build ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a coupe or martini glass. Garnish with a fresh Bartlett pear fan.

Tall Order
2 oz Skyy Infusions Bartlett Pear
.75 oz simple syrup
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
fill with hard dry apple cider

Build ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a fresh Bartlett pear slice.

Ten (More) Cocktails for Super Bowl 2017

Okay, so the grub is all prepared, the TV is on, and everyone is arriving to watch the big game. What drinks do you serve to hold them off until kick-off time? Here are ten suggestions representing our favorite submissions and covering a variety of tastes… and including a cocktail for each team’s fans. Give each person a different drink to spark up a bit of pre-game conversation.

Verde Chelada
1 ½ parts Ancho Verde Green Chile Liqueur
½ part lime juice
1 big pinch of salt
12 parts Mexican lager beer (or green chile beer if it is available in your area)
salt for rim

Rim a cold beer glass with kosher salt. Add salt, lime, and Ancho Verde to a cold beer glass and stir to mix. Add ice and then beer. Garnish with a lime wheel.

The Touchdown
2 parts Svedka Cucumber Lime
4 parts Voluptuous Mix*

*Voluptuous Mix
3 cups V-8 juice
3 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)
1-1/2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1-2 lemons)
1/2 tsp. prepared horseradish
2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
4 Tbsp. half-sour pickle brine
1 cup chopped peeled cucumber (run through food processor)
4 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
2 Tbsp. kosher salt

Build in a highball glass rimmed with Voluptuous Salt. Garnish with cooked peeled shrimp, 2 slices of lime, a cucumber wedge, and a sprig of cilantro.

Grilled Grapefruit Paloma
2 parts Hornitos Plata Tequila
1 part fresh lime juice
¾ part ginger sage syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
top with grapefruit beer (appx. 1 part)
grapefruit
sage sprigs

Combine equal parts sugar and water with 1 ginger slice and 4 sage sprigs and bring to a boil to create ginger sage syrup. Allow the mixture to cool; combine all ingredients except grapefruit beer in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain the mixture into a highball glass filled with ice and top with grapefruit beer. Garnish with a grilled grapefruit slice.Stoli Mule

For New England fans:
Paul Revere’s Mule
1 1/2 parts Stoli Vodka
3 parts Stoli Ginger Beer
lime wedge

Pour vodka and ginger beer in a mule glass with ice. Gently stir and then garnish with the lime wedge before serving.

For Atlanta Fans:
Matty Iced Tea
1 1/2 parts Stoli Peach Vodka
3 parts iced tea
¾ part fresh lemon juice
¾ part simple syrup
lemon wedge

Mix all ingredients into a tall tea glass. Garnish with lemon wedge and serve.

The Mayor’s Lament
1 ½ oz. Rittenhouse 100 Proof Rye
1 oz. Nardini Amaro
Generous six dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
Another six dashes Woodford Reserve Spiced Cherry Bitters
2-3 dashes Peychaud’s

Mix all ingredients in a rocks glass with ice and serve.

The Effen Red Zone
1 part Effen Original Vodka
1 part grapefruit juice
1 part orange juice

Build over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange wheel.

The Dixie Firefly
This one’s spicy!
1 1/2 oz. Dixie Black Pepper Vodka
1 1/2 oz. ruby red grapefruit juice
3/4 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup

Shake and pour over ice. Garnish with fresh jalapeno slices.

Planter’s PunchPlanters Punch
2 parts Banks 7 Golden Age Rum
3/4 part pineapple Juice
3/4 part cranberry syrup (equal parts fresh cranberry juice and simple syrup)
5 parts orange juice
½ part lime juice
1 dash of Angostura bitters
mint sprig
cranberries

Shake with ice and strain into a terra cotta cup filled with pebble ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and three cranberries.

Whiskey Beer Sour
From Karen Miner
1 lemon wedge
1/4 cup lemonade
1 oz. whiskey
8 oz. amber ale

Squeeze lemon wedge into glass. Lightly mix lemonade, whiskey, and beer together in glass. Serve immediately.

Best Super Bowl Recipes and Our Favorite Cocktail Pairings

Game Day Dishes

Who better to bring you football fan approved dishes than six of America’s top chefs? Some of these recipes are geared up for a full house, so you can serve them up to the entire crowd; trim quantities to fit the size of your Super Bowl party. As a bonus, we’ve paired each with a cocktail to complete your game-watching menu.

Play Maker Buffalo Chicken Dip
Joshua Johnston, sous chef, 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel (Clayton, N.Y.)
2 lb. chicken breast
8 oz. cream cheese
1 lb. shredded cheddar blend
8 oz. hot sauce/buffalo sauce
10 oz. extra chunky blue cheese dressing
Garnish: diced tomato and scallion

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in a medium to large sauce pot and cover with water just enough to fully submerge the chicken. Bring to a simmer for about 8-10 minutes. When the chicken is done, it should pull apart very easily. While chicken is simmering, prepare the cheese. In a microwave-safe bowl, cube the cream cheese and toss with half of the shredded cheese. Cover the bowl and microwave for about a minute. Assemble the dip: in a large mixing bowl, shred the chicken, preferably with a set of forks. Fold in the melted cheese blend, hot sauce, and blue cheese until fully blended. (Note: Dip can be prepared a day in advance up until this point and refrigerated.) Place dip in oven-safe dish and top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake towards the top of the oven to allow for better browning. Bake for 10 minutes, garnish, and serve hot.

Serve this with an Effen Beast cocktail.

Effen BeastEffen Beast
1 part Effen Black Cherry Vodka
1 part cranberry juice (white or red)
½ part vanilla simple syrup
½ part fresh lemon juice

Build over fresh ice in a rocks glass and garnish with brandied cherries and a lemon twist.

Rock Shrimp & Manchego Fondue
Eric Kaszubinski, executive chef at McCoy’s Oceanfront, Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa (Pompano Beach, Fla.)
2 shallots (minced)
1 lb. rock shrimp
4 oz. butter
4 oz. flour
1 bunch cilantro (chopped)
4 oz. white wine
1 qt. heavy cream
½ lb. Manchego cheese (grated)
½ tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
½ tsp. Tabasco
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. white pepper

Place butter in a non-stick pot and melt over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté for two minutes. Add shrimp and cook for three minutes. Place flour in pot and stir to allow it to absorb the butter and cook for two minutes. Whisk in heavy cream and add cilantro and the spices. Once liquid has thickened, add the Manchego cheese and finish with white wine. Serve in individual portions along with pita and plantain chips.

Serve this with a Blue Cowboy Margarita.

Blue Cowboy MargaritaBlue Cowboy Margarita
3 parts Jose Cuervo Gold tequila
3 parts frozen limeade concentrate
1 part orange juice
1 part blue curacao
2 parts beer (use a lager or Mexican beer)
colored salt for rim (see below)

Put all ingredients, except salt, into a blender. Blend on high until smooth and slushy. Rub lime along glass edge and then dip in blue colored salt. Add the liquid, garnish with a lime wedge and serve. The beer adds a frothiness to this cocktail.

To make the colored salt:
Put one cup of salt in a plastic baggie. Add four to five drops of food coloring and seal. Shake vigorously. If the color is not dark enough, add more food coloring one drop at a time. It’s best to then pour the salt onto a plate and spread it out to dry for a half hour before using.

Bacon-Infused Popcorn
Darren Sylvin, executive chef, Aloft Boston Seaport (Boston, Mass.)
1 lb. bacon
1 cup popcorn kernels
½ cup coconut oil
pinch of salt

Rough cut bacon into 1-inch cubes. In a deep and wide soup pot, render bacon under low flame until completely crispy (about 20 minutes). Once fully rendered, separate bacon and fat through a fine strainer. Reserve bacon pieces on the side for later. Clean out pot and return to medium flame with all of the reserved bacon fat and coconut oil. Add kernels and a pinch of salt and stir until kernels are fully coated with fat and oil. Put lid on pot and begin to vigorously shake pot back and forth over flame until kernels begin to pop. Continue to shake until the popping fades. (Not shaking will result in burnt popcorn.) Once popping has stopped or reduced significantly, remove from flame and stir in remaining bacon pieces. Place in bowl and serve.

Here’s another margarita using colored salt.Red Cuervo Margarita

The Red Cuervo Margarita
2 parts Jose Cuervo Silver tequila
1 part fresh lime juice
1 part triple sec
1 part grenadine
agave syrup to taste
lime for garnish
colored salt for rim (see recipe above)

In a cocktail shaker, add ice and all liquids. Shake well! Run a lime wedge around the glass edge and then dip the glass into red colored salt. Add ice and strain in liquids from the shaker. Garnish with a lime wedge and served.

Baby Back Ribs
The Newes from America Pub at Kelley House (Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.)
8 racks baby back ribs (about 10 lbs.)
2 Tbsp. paprika
½ Tbsp. brown sugar
½ Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. celery salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cayenne
½ tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
1 ½ qt. beer (a lager or red ale works great)
1 cup of bourbon (this is our recommended addition)

Pre-heat oven to 225 degrees F. Place ribs on an unlined sheet pan and coat each slab liberally with rub made from all dry elements. Cover with aluminum foil, leaving an opening that you will close later. Place pan on bottom oven rack. Fill each pan with beer and bourbon through opening in foil; close opening. Cook for 5 ½ hrs. Ribs should have a good crust on top and be very tender. Let cool. Serves 15-20 people.

These ribs need a good whiskey cocktail to go with them. Try out The Upbeat.

The Upbeat
2 parts Hudson Maple Cask Rye
¾ part sweet vermouth
1 barspoon Amaro Montenegro
2 dashes Fee Bros. Black Walnut bitters
cocktail cherry

Add liquid ingredients to a mixing glass, then ice. Stir until well-chilled and strain into a pre-chilled cocktail coupe. Add the cherry for garnish and serve.

Super Bowl Beef Chili
Richard Doucette, executive chef, Lighthouse Grill at Harbor View Hotel (Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.)
28 oz. ground beef
4 Spanish onions (diced)
1 head of celery (diced)
8 red bell peppers (diced)
2 bunches cilantro (chopped)
2 jalapenos (seeded and diced)
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup red wine vinegar
½ bottle Cholula Hot Sauce
11 oz. can diced tomatoes
11 oz. ketchup
11 oz. canned red kidney beans (drained)
11 oz. canned black beans (drained)
12 oz. canned chipotle peppers in adobo
2 cups ground ancho peppers
1 Tbsp. granulated garlic
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
8 Tbsp. whole cumin
2 Tbsp. black pepper
4 Tbsp. dried Mexican oregano
4 Tbsp. smoked paprika
kosher salt to taste
1 cup red wine (our addition)

Combine all liquids, set aside. In a large pot on medium-high heat, brown ground beef. Strain off excess fat. Add all vegetables and cook until tender. Add all spices and toast until fragrant. Add be
ans and all liquids. Reduce heat to low. Cook slowly for two hours. When serving, provide shredded cheese to garnish the top of each bowl.

The perfect cocktail for chili is a Smoky Paloma. The smoky flavor comes from the mezcal.

Smoky PalomaSmoky Paloma
1.5 oz. Sombra Mezcal
1 oz. fresh grapefruit (an orange can be substituted if necessary)
½ oz. fresh lime juice
½ oz. sugar (or simple syrup)
1 pinch of salt
1 lemon

Muddle fruit with the remaining ingredients. Strain into a glass with ice (it can be salt rimmed if you like) and garnish with a grapefruit or lemon slice.

New England Lobster Roll
Gustavo Calderon, executive chef, 3800 Ocean at Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa (Riviera Beach, Fla.)
1 ½ lb. lobster meat (if lobster meat isn’t available in your area, substitute crab meat)
½ cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 inner stalks of celery and leaves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. tarragon, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. capers, finely chopped
2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
salt and black pepper to taste
4 rolls split, brushed with butter and lightly toasted
1 tsp. Old Bay (for garnish)

Chop lobster meat into bite size pieces and add to a bowl. Mix mayo, lemon juice, celery, herbs, capers, and seasonings; add to lobster and mix well. Chill the lobster salad in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes to marinate. While lobster salad is resting, brush the four rolls with butter and toast slit side down in a pan until light golden brown. Fill toasted rolls with roughly one cup of the salad mixture and garnish with a light sprinkle of Old Bay. Best with some fresh kettle chips.

Gridrion HoneyPair the lobster roll with a Gridiron Honey.

Gridiron Honey
1 ½ parts Reyka Vodka
¾ part fresh lemon juice
¾ part honey
½ part Becherovka
club soda

Combine all ingredients, except the soda, into a shaker. Shake and then pour into a rocks glass. Top with the soda and serve.

Recipes: Making Cocktails With Port Wine

Port wine is having a bit of a renaissance with bartenders and mixologists, as Facundo Rum has brought to our attention, sharing the Facundo Bishop recipe with us. It is indeed warming and lovely to relax with and we highly recommend it. The cloves spice up the orange, which hugs the warming rum and sweet port.

Here’s the recipe for the Facundo Bishop, plus four additional cocktails that include Port wine as an ingredient.

(Note: While making these, we used Graham’s Fine Ruby Port. You can use a white port in any of these, but we recommend reserving it for summertime.)

Facundo Bishop
2 parts Facundo Eximo Rum
1 part Ruby Port
1 teaspoon white sugar
3-4 whole cloves
orange wedges

Place port, orange wedges, and cloves in a small pot. Warm and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes, but do not allow the liquid to boil. Pour contents into a snifter or stemless wine glass. Add Eximo and stir. Add sugar and serve warm.

Red Dog MartiniRed Dog Martini
(Courtesy of Bar None Drinks)
3 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. ruby port
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. grenadine

Pour all ingredients into a shaker with cracked ice. Shake, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lime twist.

Port, bourbon, and maple syrup come together in the Second Circle. This one comes to us from Laura Sant who tells us astrologer/bartender Patricia Clark Hippolyte developed the drink especially for Scorpios as part of her “Mixstrology” series. Of the cocktails here, this is our favorite.

Second Circle
2 oz. bourbonSecond Circle
1 oz. ruby port
1 tsp. maple syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
3 Luxardo or maraschino cherries for garnish

Combine bourbon, port, syrup, and bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled champagne coupe; garnish with cherries, preferably pierced by a plastic sword.

New York Sour
(Courtesy of Eater.com)
2 oz. bourbon
3/4 oz. lemon juice
3/4 oz. simple syrup
2 dashes peach bitters
4 bar spoons port (ruby or tawny)

Add bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and bitters to cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into rocks glass with ice. Float port atop.

Ruby Port Cocktail Inspired by Picholine in NYC
(Courtesy of KitchenFiddler)
3 ounces port (ruby or tawny)
½ a lime
splash of ginger ale
additional lime wedge, for garnish

For each drink, fill a rocks glass with the cracked ice. Add the port, then squeeze the juice from the half a lime into the glass. Add a generous splash of ginger ale and stir, using the handle of a long spoon to mix it up. Garnish with a fresh lime wedge and serve. 

Review and Recipes: Sunup Green Coffee

Sunup Green Coffee

What’s green coffee? It’s coffee made using green, unroasted coffee beans in the brewing process. Sunup, which makes this beverage, says green coffee is good for your stomach, rich in antioxidants, gluten free, and organic. Sunup (generally consumed cold) comes lightly sweetened with sugar, though it still boasts to be only 80 calories. The natural caffeine present is about the same as drinking a normal iced coffee.

If you expect it to taste like a regular cup of coffee, you’ll be surprised. The coffee comes through only as a slight aftertaste; up front, it is more reminiscent of a tea. Chilled, it makes a great beverage to take on an afternoon in the park or to drink with lunch.

B+ / $23 per six pack of 9.5 oz. bottles / sunupgreencoffee.com

We couldn’t resist making a few cocktails with it. Give these a try!

Sunup Long Island Iced Coffee
1 Tbsp. dark rum
1 Tbsp. vodka
1 Tbsp. gin
1 Tbsp. gold tequila
1 Tbsp. Tia Maria
2 Tbsp. ginger beer
1 Tbsp. simple syrup
1-2 Tbsp. lime juice
cold Sunup green coffee
lime wedges to serve

Fill a shaker with ice and all the spirits plus the lime juice. Shake briefly. Strain over a tall glass with ice. Add the ginger beer and top off with the Sunup.Sunup RumChata Cocktail

Sunup Rumchata
3 oz. room temperature Sunup green coffee
1 oz. RumChata
1 oz. white rum

Combine RumChata and Sunup in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a tall glass with ice. If you prefer, substitute Frangelico and 1 Tbsp. simple syrup instead of the RumChata.

Recipes to Celebrate National Hot Chocolate Day 2017

Milagro Hot Chocolate

National Hot Chocolate Day is celebrated on Tuesday, January 31st. He’s a look at four recipes for your enjoyment — all of which we put to the test ourselves!

Milagro Hot Chocolate
Created by National Brand Ambassador Jaime Salas
1.5 Parts Milagro Anejo
Abuelita chocolate tablets or your favorite hot chocolate powder
3 parts heavy cream
1 pinch grated chili chocolate bar

Build in a clear mug or other drink vessel suitable for hot beverages. Top with whipped cream and chili chocolate shavings. If you don’t want o use the hot chocolate powder, then melt the chili chocolate bar instead…just save one square to shave for the garnish.

Red Wine Hot ChocolateRed Wine Hot Chocolate
2/3 cup semisweet dark chocolate chips
2/3 cup red blend wine
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 pinch of salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Combine the chocolate chips, wine, milk, heavy cream, and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until chocolate chips are melted. Don’t rush it or it can burn. Remove from heat, then stir in the vanilla and salt. Pour into mugs and serve. This makes four mugs.

Red Wine Hot Chocolate has been an internet craze all winter, with numerous recipes online. We picked through the best of the ingredients to create a silky treat.

Coconut Cardamom Bourbon Hot Chocolate
Courtesy Autumn Giles
2 cups coconut milk (the kind from the carton, not the can)
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup chocolate chips
4 Tbsp. bourbon

In a small saucepan, heat the coconut milk and cardamom over medium heat, stirring frequently.
When it starts to bubble, remove from heat, stir in the chocolate chips, and let sit for about 3 minutes.
After 3 minutes, add the bourbon and use a immersion blender to blend the mixture until frothy, about 30 seconds. Pour into two small mugs and top with coconut whipped cream (see below) and garnish with additional cardamom.

To Make Coconut Whipped Cream
1—14 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk (it’s recommended not to use the lite kind). You may be able to find canned coconut cream in the international section of some grocery stores.
2 Tbsp. white sugar, or to taste
1 tsp. real vanilla extract

Refrigerate can of coconut milk for 8 hours or overnight. Place metal mixing bowl and beaters in the refrigerator or freezer 1 hour before making whipped cream. Open can of coconut milk, taking care not to shake it. Scoop coconut cream solids into cold mixing bowl. Reserve remaining liquid for another use. Beat coconut cream using electric mixer with chilled beaters on medium speed; turn to high speed. Beat until stiff peaks form, 7 to 8 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla extract to coconut cream; beat 1 minute more. Taste and add more sugar if desired.

Orange Hot ChocolateOrange Hot Chocolate for Four
From SeriousEats.com
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 pinch kosher salt
3 cups whole milk
4 oz. milk chocolate chips
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
3 oz. Grand Marnier or Cointreau
4 oz. pisco or rum
four 2-inch segments orange peel
whipped cream
candied orange peel

In medium saucepan, stir cocoa with sugar and salt. Stir in milk, milk chocolate, and bittersweet chocolate. Heat over medium heat until, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and mixture is hot. Gently whisk to completely homogenize mixture. Add Grand Marnier and pisco or rum. Divide into four serving cups. Rub rim of each cup with orange zest and then drop them into the mug. They will release the orange oils with each sip. Top with whipped cream and candied orange peel, and serve.

Recipe: Homemade Beer Cheese

Belgian Abbey Ale Beer Cheese
Many of us had our first taste of beer cheese at the local brew-pub. But it’s easy to make your own at home!

We picked up this beer cheese recipe from HomeBrewChef and cooked up two variations. The beer we used for the first batch was Armstrong Stout from Fogbelt Brewing Company. We added bacon slices cut into small pieces and fried them up with red onions and butter. The cheese for this batch was a sharp cheddar. We also used a pepper grinder on the peppercorns instead of tossing them in whole.

Not everyone will like this version because the stout came through strongly, giving the cheese a smoky element. It also colored the beer cheese to a medium tan shade, which may turn off some folks. The bacon pieces added a nice pop, though. Other than dipping pretzels or smothering French fries, this beer cheese would be good atop a steak with some mushrooms added.

In the second variation, we replaced the onion with fresh garlic. Then we made our own bread from a basic soft pretzel recipe with rosemary added and served it up along with chicken strips. You could also throw dried tomato or chopped jalapeno peppers into the dough if you prefer. The beer used this time was Brother Thelonious Belgian style abbey ale from North Coast Brewing Company.

Although the abbey ale is still a darker beer, the cheese sauce does look and taste lighter. The garlic came through the cheddar cheese without overpowering the sauce. Again, we used cracked pepper from our pepper mill instead using whole peppercorns. We bet this one will be a favorite. Check the end of the recipe for other variation suggestions from the chef.

For both recipes, we added an extra 1/4 cup of cheese but that is a matter of individual taste.

Beer Cheese
4 tablespoons butter, unsalted preferably organic
1/2 cup onion, yellow, large, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf, preferably freshStout Beer Cheese with Bacon
1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups beer
1 cup heavy cream
5 whole, black peppercorns
3 whole cloves
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup grated cheese

In a heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat, add the butter and let it melt. Add the prepped onion, bay leaf, salt and sauté for 4-5 minutes, until the onion is transparent.

Dust the onions with the flour, stirring with a flat edge spatula, so you can scrape any flour from the bottom of the pan, to make a roux. Cook the roux for 3-4 minutes, stirring the whole time, to prevent the flour from burning. Take care not to have the heat too high.

Switching to a whisk, slowly pour in the beer, whisking to combine, getting any fond from the bottom of the pan, making sure all the lumps (if any) from the flour are dissolved. Add the cream. Bring the mixture to a simmer and adjust the heat to keep a gentle simmer. Add the peppercorns, cloves and nutmeg. Whisk the mixture occasionally over the next 30 minutes, as the flour flavor cooks out and the sauce thickens slightly.

Remove the bay leaf, cloves, and peppercorns from the sauce. Take the sauce off the heat. Slowly add the grated cheese while whisking to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed with more salt or cracked pepper.

Recipe Notes and Variants
This sauce can be made with many beer styles. You can pair the beer’s flavor with the type of cheese you use, or pair them both with a specific main course. The versatility is endless. Here are a few ideas:

Classic Cheddar Pale Ale Beer Cheese Sauce: Use a Deschutes Brewery Mirror Pond Pale Ale and grate some Tillamook Medium Cheddar Cheese for this sauce. Try it on nachos, use a cheese fondue or pour over roasted broccoli.

South of the Border Chipotle Smoked Jack Beer Cheese Sauce: Use a Rogue Farms Chipotle Ale and use either a pepper or smoked Monterey Jack cheese. This is awesome over nachos, over enchiladas, as a dip for chips, vegetables (grilled and roasted), over a baked potato, or mixed in with cooked elbow macaroni, roasted peppers, caramelized onions, and topped with barbecue style potato chips.

German Beer Cheese Sauce: To make the perfect dip for your fresh baked pretzel, take a Märzen Oktoberfest beer and add some smoked gouda or räucherkäse cheese. Also perfect to pour some of this over a pretzel coated pork schnitzel served with some spaetzle.

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