The Weekly Mix: The Amaro Alchemy of a Super Bowl Beer Cocktail
If Sunday, February 5, finds you clutching an indifferent can of low-calorie pseudo-beer, you might as well turn the game off, because you’ve already lost. Whatever football glory or ignominy occurs between the Patriots and Giants won’t matter, because you’ve dulled your palate, and thus your fighting spirit, with watery beer. Think about it. Does Tom Brady slake his manly thirst with Fanta? No, both he and baby-faced opposing quarterback Eli Manning chug Gatorade because they are athletes who respect their bodies. As a fan—or bartender catering to a fan—don’t you have as much responsibility to respect yours?
Well even if you don’t, Andy Minchow does. Mixologist at Atlanta’s Holeman & Finch, Minchow is responsible for the Jack’s Press, a beer cocktail for winners. Not only is it one of our favorite beer cocktails (read: complex, but still eminently drinkable), the Jack’s Press is also the ideal Game Day beverage: it contains beer (a must), it’s simple (just three ingredients), and by some alchemical amaro magic, it tastes ever so slightly of Coca-Cola. And while we were served the drink in the casual cool of Holeman & Finch, we’re hopeful (insistent?) beer cocktails of this kind and quality will make their way up North in time for the big pigskin showdown.
The winning formula behind the Jack’s Press is as simple and effective as a power running game: a combination of Lindeman’s Peche Lambic Belgian Beer, Amaro CioCiaro, and Regan’s Orange Bitters. The natural fermentation of the lambic makes for a bready, delicately peachy backdrop. “We added orange bitters to brighten it,” says Minchow, “and finished with an amaro Italian digestivo.” It’s that digestivo—a 140 year-old bittersweet symphony of anise-chocolate-and-coffee amaro—that gives the drink its ATL-pride, that deliciously haunting Coke finish. Not that the Jack’s Press—named for Minchow’s soda-loving son—is sweet. “It’s a good, refreshing cocktail,” says Minchow. We couldn’t agree more. Between the quenching bitterness of the amaro and the piquant yeastiness of the lambic, the Jack’s Press has plenty of bite. Balance that with soft peach notes, a creamy head, and depth of flavor, and you’ve got a beer cocktail that breaks old standards and sets new ones. And because it’s sufficiently weighty, you won’t have to chug it. Meaning you can feed your game face without getting sh*t faced. Touchdown. More please.