Sure, you can make the boring choice and just make a cocktail at home or have one made for you at your favourite neighbourhood bar, but I think we all know that cocktails want to be set free – they want, like us, to be made for adventures.
And why shouldn’t they be able to experience the world outside a bar? Why shouldn’t they be the first sip you have after you’ve climbed that mountain or be the liquid with which you toast after you and your friends find that truly allusive deserted beach?
They want to feel alive. They want to be part of the journey. And between you and me they resent that those moments are exclusively dominated by wine or beer.
But let’s face it, normally wine and beer are just simpler to carry. Cocktails, alternatively, are just, well … awkward. There are jiggers, strainer and shakers. There are bottles (oh so many bottles) of liquor, not to mention the liqueurs, the syrups and the mixers.
Really, to do cocktails effectively in the wild, you really need the aid of a cocktail sherper to deal with all the gear (and seriously, they’re not as easy to come by as you might first assume). So what you are left with is the fact that in these situations cocktails become more of a venture than an adventure.
And this, of course, is why the bottled cocktail craze has become so popular, but if you’ve ever tried bottling cocktails at home, or even buying those that are pre-made, you’ll know there’s a limit to what you can do. The main stumbling block, of course, is that you can never easily pre-bottle a spritz or anything that is carbonated.
Now that may be fine, until the day that you have a BBQ/beach party/house warming/divorce party to attend and you irrationally promised to bring the drinks. And with that commitment come the words ‘make sure it’s something light, fun, flavoursome and perhaps bubbly’ all uttered by your overly judgemental friend.
But before you decide to clear your local bottle shop of all the teeny-tiny bottles of Prosecco that they have, why not take some advice from one of the world’s best bartenders.
Yes, overworked home mixologists, Jeffery Morgenthaler has yet again come to the rescue, as he has a solution to fix all your carbonated cocktail dilemmas. You might think the solution is a little left field and it may not be what you expect, but you will definitely thank Morgenthaler’s nimble cocktail brain for the suggestion.
Morgenthaler, generally better known for his countless awards, his bar management of the cocktails bars Clyde Common and Pepe Le Moko and his two cocktail books The Bar Book & Drinking Distilled (co-authored and authored respectively), recently posted an Instagram story where he suggested the humble beer Growler is perhaps the ideal vessel for all things carbonated and especially a spritz..
Well, let’s just say that it’s not surprising that a bartender from the world’s unofficial craft brew capital of the world, Portland, is the one to bring the growler to our attention. Because, yes, that mechanism that makes beer easy to transport, can also be used for cocktails. With this in mind, we asked Morgenthaler what makes the Growler so good.
What Is A Growler?
First off, for those uninitiated into the craft brew beer culture, a growler is really any vessel used to transport beer from one place to another with ease.
they are vessels that have been around for millennia but in their modern format, they are generally constructed from glass or ceramics or the more complex ones constructed of stainless steel. Most are insulated and keep their contents under pressure using a little CO2 pellet, much like a Soda Siphon. This allows them to keep any liquid, including cocktails, not only cool but also happily carbonated.
What’s so great about a Growler?
Well as Morgenthaler points out “It’s a great way to carry around a large amount of a cocktail, carbonated or non-carbonated!”
Growlers tend to come in a variety of shapes and sizes but a pressurized growler can keep your drinks cold and carbonated for two weeks or more.
What Growler should you use?
We recommend a UKEG 64 from growlerwerks.com. Also being Portland-based, these guys know their growlers. The UKEG is great because it’s durable, double-wall vacuum insulated stainless steel and have a CO2 regulator cap with customizable tap handle and gauge. Best of all they come with two 8 gram CO2 cartridges.
The UKEG 64 also has a Dispenser Tap, with tap-lock, to easily pour your drinks, any time; sight glass to shows the contents of uKeg and how much is left and it uses low-cost, food-grade CO2 Cartridges.
What should you make?
Really, any cocktail you can batch can be batched in a growler, because as Morgenthaler points out “You can use nitrogen to dispense a non-carbonated cocktail.”
“For a Spritz? Probably the flavours of Aperol, club soda, and prosecco. An Aperol Spritz is great because you can just use whole parts: and depending on the growler size that can just be whole bottles. I would use carbonated water to give the drink a head start.”
Really with a growler, the question becomes more about what you can’t make in it rather than what you can.
“I don’t know if I’d use one for creamy drinks, blended drinks, or hot drinks necessarily,” Morgenthaler says, “other than that, you’re probably good.
While Morgenthaler says that it’s perhaps not his favourite way to batch, he has said: “it might be my new favourite way to serve a gallon of carbonated cocktails.” And really what better recommendation could you ask for?
Ginger Bread Head
- 13.5 oz Havana Club Anejo
- 9 oz Faretti Biscotti Liqueur
- 9 oz Black Note Amaro
- 4.5 oz lemon juice
- 4.5 oz Orange
- 6.75 oz ginger simple syrup
- 13.5 oz water
Storming The Castle
- 22.5 oz Buffalo Trace
- 11.25 oz Cocchi Torino
- 7.5 oz Benedictine
- 26 Dashes Fee Bros. Old Fashioned Bitters
- Garnish: Brandied Cherry
- 22.5 oz water
- 19.5 oz Lillet Rose
- 13 oz Habanero Syrup
- 6.5 oz Lime Juice
- 3.25 oz Raspberry Vinegar
- 19.5 oz Water
Garnish with Hippo Leaf and Raspberry Dust
Homemade Raspberry Cider Vinegar:
- 33 oz Cider Vinegar
- 1 Punnet Raspberries
Infuse together for 24 hours
Strain through chinois