The last time I tried a beer cocktail I was about 20 years old at a bar in DC, with two Daves and my best friend, Robyn. Beer cocktails were the house specialty and though they didn’t sound the least bit appealing the place had a certain charm to it, the most important of which was that they didn’t card. On the menu was a drink called Skip and Go Naked, involving vodka, lemonade and beer. One, or maybe all of us ordered it and it wasn’t half bad. The hour turned late, more drinking ensued and no one but our little group was left in the bar. One of the Daves decided to turn words into action, took off all of his clothes and skipped around the tables in nothing but his birthday suit, receiving much hooting of support from the rest of us.
In the spirit of one of my favorite 20-something memories, I wanted to add a beer cocktail to our recipe list and after some playing around developed this one made with stout, our Hibiscus Flower Infused Maple, and bitters. Though I am still dubious of beer cocktails I really like it. The tanginess of the Hibiscus takes the stout into edgier territory without adding too much sweetness and the bitters makes it taste like an official cocktail.
As I have learned formulating our cocktail recipes, the name is equally as important as the contents. It should be reflective of the character of the drink but is also a chance to include a naughty joke or evocative phrase. (Have you ever tried a Bankers are Wankers?) And in some cases, it is a directive. I’m quite sure that Sex on the Beach has led to plenty of sex on the beach. I can only imagine how many other revelers took the suggestion of disrobing and hopping around a barroom.
We are in a very different time now, especially in Washington DC. If I can contribute a suggestive drink, we have enough bawdy ones. What we need in society and politics is a little less Game of Thrones and a little more Mister Rogers. Perhaps someday there may be a bunch of 20-somethings in a bar at one AM who are a little sloppy with drink. Maybe they come from different viewpoints and neighborhoods. Maybe they will have ordered my cocktail (or a few) and decide to put words into action. With that thought, I introduce Hugs All Around.
Hugs All Around
- 1 12oz bottle lager or stout beer (preferably VT made)
- 1-2 tsp Hibiscus Flower Infused Maple Syrup 
- A few drops of bitters
Gently pour the lager into a tall, chilled glass. Add one or two teaspoons of Hibiscus Maple to taste. Top with a few drops of bitters and stir.