Since celebrating Solstice last week, we can finally say that summer is here. In the Bay Area, we've already experienced a heat wave that rivals those in New York or Tokyo - we could not handle it. I've created a cool, refreshing beer cocktail for just those days - to enjoy out by the pool, reading trashy novels in the backyard, or alongside a sizzling grill.
My first experience with a beer cocktail was at Commonwealth Pub in Oakland, years ago. I love beer cocktails, and last year I adapted the Michelada, a drink with tomato and beer, and called it the Umamichelada (I know, I'm so clever). One of the most classic beer cocktails is the Shandy - a beer mixed with anything from ginger beer to lemonade. Does that sound refreshing, or what?
I wanted to create a drink like this, with a Japanese twist. After reading through some beer cocktail recipes I saw that bartenders have added distilled spirits as well, which blew my mind. Of course! Make a cocktail, then top it off with a refreshing, light beer! I got to work, and came up with the White Ale Shiso Spinner.
1. Rip the shiso leaf into a few shreds, directly into the pint glass.
2. Cut the lime and add the two pieces into the glass. I like to cut off the ends of the wedges to lessen the bitterness.
3. Muddle the shiso with limes.
4. Add the shochu and Pampleau, and pour over the muddled limes and shiso.
5. Add ice, fill to the very top.
6. Top off the glass with the White Ale.
7. Garnish with a shiso leaf and enjoy the fizz.
Despite the sugar in the Pampleau, this drink is quite bitter. So this drink is for all you imbibers out there who prefer bitter to sweet. I added the rice shochu, which is on the sweeter side, to tame the bitterness and add roundness. The White Ale is bright, structured, and enhances the grapefruit. The muddled shiso with lime gives the drink a puckering tartness (reminiscent of umeboshi, thanks to the shiso), perfect for those dog days of summer.
For those who would enjoy a non-alcoholic beer cooler, nix the shochu and Pampleau, sub out the White Ale for Suntory All-Free, and muddle grapefruit instead of limes. Kanpai!