Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Jam Session - Craft Beer Concoction's Latest Test Kitchen

Have you ever read a recipe or had a craving for a cocktail that involves muddling summer fresh berries in the dead of winter? Even though you know you can probably find the correct ingredients in the produce or freezer section of your local grocery store you also know it won't be the same. So you tuck that recipe away until those luscious, local berries return.

That was the train of thought behind our idea to use jams and jellies in place of fresh fruit in the latest Craft Beer Concoctions Test Kitchen. A stunning variety of jams/jellies are commercially available but we managed to limit ourselves to a handful and supplemented those by whipping up a few in our own kitchen. Here are a few of our favorite concoctions using jam.

"I'd Pay For That"
We admit that not all the cocktails we create are great so when one of our tasting panel sipped this one, we had to name it after the words that came out of his mouth, "I'd pay for that!" A fairly simple combination of five ingredients, we'll be making plenty of these in the future.
Bak's Bison Grass Vodka
Great Notion Pineapple Juice Invader (hazy IPA with Galaxy hops and fresh pineapple)
Rose City Pepperheads Rage 'N Red jalapeno jam
- Kroger pink grapefruit seltzer water
- Candied poppy seed rim
- Lime garnish

"Lara's Strawberry Witch"
All of us at this Test Kitchen were familiar with those wrapped candies often found at Grandma's house, the hard strawberry candy in the twisted-top foil wrapper printed to look like a strawberry. We bet you know what we're talking about, too, and if you like those you'll like this cocktail. Named for the liqueur Lara brought, this cocktail has its sweetness balanced by citrus.
- Homemade strawberry liqueur*
- Great Notion Strawberry Taffy (milkshake IPA with strawberries and vanilla beans)
- Homemade strawberry jam
- Lemon juice

"Butterscotch Lemon Drop"
One can find a version of a lemon drop on nearly any cocktail menu. Ours combines a straight forward vodka, a shandy beer and lemon curd, dolled up in a fancy crystal wedding flute (thank goodness those glasses are finally getting put to use!).
Eastside Distilling Portland Potato Vodka
Coalition Brewing Harvest Shandy (CBD lemon shandy with Goschie Farms hops)
Bonne Maman lemon curd
- Lemon slice garnish

All in all, this was one of our most successful test kitchens and we'll certainly be looking to our pantry/fridge in the future when we want to whip up a cocktail with a fruity component. If you haven't tried it yourself, we challenge you to grab whatever jam you have on hand and mix one up.

*If you've been inspired and want to make your own fruit liqueur, check this out for directions. Perhaps that's what you'll be handing out over the holidays to lucky folks.