A workout buddy of mine has been bugging me for the last four years to drive out to Sacramento this time of year for the beer festival… After holding him off for so long I finally buckled, I purchased tickets for D and I and we drove down to Sacramento, with a couple of friends, to check out the local beer festival.
The line. It was terrible…
We arrived a few minutes after the festival was open to the public and parking looked to be an issue but we were lucky as my office was a few blocks from the festival and there was plenty of parking there for us to use, so we avoided that headache. Only to find another one waiting for us. Despite covering two entire blocks the festival only had one entrance with two lines one for people who had prepaid and another for people buying their tickets at the event. We encountered the latter first and thought it was long, going down about half a block and moving at a pace I’d call somewhat south of glacial. The pre-paid line looked like it was almost as long, until we tried walking to the end of it. Walking and walking and walking. The prepaid line wrapped around an entire city block?! This is the line for people who had already paid too! What the hell?!
Outside looking in
Falling prey to the sunken cost fallacy we waited in the line for the next twenty minutes to get in. Where else am I going to find 100+ brewers handing out their wares?
The plan was to hit up breweries we’d never heard of before, if we could handle that much booze, going back to places we’d heard of. I sampled brews from the following:
- Mad River Brewing
- Anchor Brewing
- Ol’ Republic Brewery
- Heretic Brewing
- Drake’s Brewing
- North Coast Brewery
- Crispin Ciders
- Knee Deep Brewing
- Hanger 24 Brewing
- Sacramento Republic FC
I should have been taking notes… But I didn’t. So, I really cant’ recall what I drank and what really stood out to me…. The only thing I can really remember is Knee Deep had a delicious vanilla bean Porter. I’d like to get my hands on that again at some point.
Commemorative flight glass
It was a fun experience, I’m glad I did it. Though I don’t think I’ll be doing it next year. I’m lucky in that Davis spoils us with two excellent grocery stores that have a large selection of craft brews and a beer shop. I don’t need to go out looking for excellent brew. And I can avoid the lines.
I’ve said here before that the Moscow Mule is one of, if not, my favorite cocktail. It was a Moscow Mule I had at Seattle Underground that served as half of the inspiration for this entire series of posts. So, when I see variants on the recipe, I’m developing my own right now, I’m excited to try them. This variant swaps out vodka for Applejack, as a cider fan I was excited to give it a shot.
- 1 1/2 oz. of Applejack
- 1/2 oz. of fresh lime juice
- Dash of Angostura bitters
- Ginger beer
Combine applejack, lime juice, and bitters in a shaker full of ice. Shake. Strain into an ice filled glass (or go traditional with a copper mug!), top with ginger beer and garnish with a lime wedge.
Oh, wow, that is nice! The Applejack is so smooth and crisp. The ginger beer is so sharp and spicy. The bitters bring it all together. This is good. I don’t know if it’s Moscow Mule good, I’ll have to have a few more of both of them to decide that, but it is good. Washington’s Mule is also fairly light and I think it would make a good apertif or digestif. Or drink it on a hot day or warm evening out on the patio, that’s what I plan on doing…
Saturday was National Margarita Day (February 22) and so I decided to make a margarita despite featuring one recently. I couldn’t do just another plain ol’ margarita either. D had me covered though with this spicy take on the cocktail she had seen online. This take on the familiar cocktail used grapefruit instead of lemons or lime and substituted a simple syrup for triplesec. Not just any simple syrup though, this one has cayenne pepper in it.
I was skeptical when D described the recipe to me, but she prevailed on me to make it and now, after drinking it, I’m glad she did!
Spicy Grapefruit Margaritas
- 2 oz. tequila
- 1 oz. cayenne simple syrup (see below)
- 4 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
Rim glasses (this cocktail is not usually served in a margarita glass, we used mason jars) with either salt or sugar (I use a sugar cayenne pepper mix.) Place ice in glasses, add tequila, simple syrup, and grapefruit juice. Adjust juice and syrup for your desired level of sweetness. Stir well.
Cayenne Simple Syrup
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Combine the sugar, water and cayenne in a small saucepot and bring to a simmer. Stir so that all sugar melts then remove from heat and cool in the fridge. You’ll want to do this an hour or so before you make the drinks as you’ll want the syrup to be chilled before making the cocktail.
I love the colors of this drink a deep ruby red at the bottom from the grapefruit juice and pulp shading lighter as you approach the mouth of the jar. Through out are little flecks of cayenne pepper. This is a delicious drink. Perfect for hot afternoons or warm evenings (the kind we’re having right now in California, sadly…) The sourness of the grapefruit is perfectly offset by the spicy sweetness of the syrup. A lovely drink. I’m thinking I’m going to have to keep some of this pre-made in the freezer as well…
It rained today. And if you’ve been following the news here in California, you’d know that rain is a pretty big deal right now. Besides alleviating, if only by a very little, the drought the state is experiencing the weather also made actually feel like Winter. To honor the rain, and the mood it established,I decided to make this winter smash that D had mentioned to me earlier this month.
I’d never made a smash before and this isn’t your standard anyway, playing on the rule that a seasonal fruit should be in the drink by using a jam or preserve. But, it did sound delicious and sitting on the couch, sipping this cocktail while comfortably wrapped in a blanket while listening to the rain fall outside was too wonderful an image not to make reality!
Winter Bourbon Smash
- 1 oz. raspberry jam (any jam or preserve will do)
- 1 oz. bourbon whisky
- 1/2 oz. TripleSec
- 1 to 1 1/2 oz. orange juice
- splash of club soda
Add 1/2 cup ice, preserves, bourbon, triple sec and orange juice to a shaker and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Pour into serving glass with a few ice cubes and top with a splash of club soda. Garnish with orange slice.
PS – Depending on the size of the holes in your cocktail shaker you might have to use a jam that doesn’t have a lot of fruit chunks and seeds in it or be comfortable scooping infused jam out of the shaker after draining out as much of the cocktail as you can.
Another wonderful drink! The bourbon and raspberry jam complement each other perfectly. The two work on each other smoothing out their rough edges, the bourbon’s bite and the jam’s sweetness, until you are left with something eminently drinkable.