Written by Chris Benjamin, director of food and beverage at the Essex Resort and Spa.

As director of Food & Beverage at the Essex Resort & Spa, it is my duty to ensure the quality of our beverage program and our food offerings. As such, I am forced (yes, under much duress) to sample our culinary creations and our many offerings of, well, extracurricular beverages. Yes, it is a tough job, but somehow I make it through the day.

Over the years I have developed a taste for all three of the beverage categories (beer, wine, liquor), and I appreciate each of them for their unique contributions, flavor profiles, and personalities that affect the way food is perceived. Some of the beverages pair well together. Wine and liquor, for example: Mimosas are a perfect example of how combining wine, juice and a touch of liquor can create a beautiful thing (as you’ll recall from my New Year’s Day article, Chambord, Grand Marnier and Canton are all lovely additions to mimosas).

When Savorvore editor Becky Holt asked me what ideas I had for this beer issue, liquor was not foremost on my mind. The problem with most drinks combining liquor and beer is that they were created by college-age kids who just wanted to accelerate the intoxication process. They are, by and large, not the titillating palate-pleasers that I try to create for you, my refined and ever elegant audience.

There are a few drinks that combine these two alcohols, though. So, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here are my recommendations:

Boilermaker – a pint of beer with a shot glass of vodka, tequila, bourbon, or gin dropped in. The drink has varied over the years; the boilermaker was first made with rye whiskey.

Dr Pepper – a shot glass of Amaretto dropped in a beer. (In my professional opinion, it doesn’t taste much like an actual Dr Pepper.)

Lunchbox – half OJ and half beer with a shot of Amaretto dropped in

Ersh – a very popular drink in Russia. It’s equal parts vodka and beer.

Shandy – a popular British drink. No liquor, though—it’s a mix of beer and lemon-lime soda. We get quite a few requests for this cocktail every summer, and it really is quite refreshing.

Red Eye – by far, the most famous beer/liquor concoction. With its supposed magical healing abilities, the Red Eye is essentially a Bloody Mary made with beer. Traditionally, it also has a raw egg mixed into it, but I’m not going to recommend that due to certain health risks associated with consuming raw eggs.

So, here’s the recipe; you may just need one after a fun-filled St. Patrick’s Day. If you want my two cents, just stick with green beer… but to each their own. Enjoy!

The Red Eye
6 oz. beer (keep it light and inexpensive)
6 oz. V8 (you can use tomato juice, but V8 is so much better)
2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce
2-3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 pinches of celery salt
2-3 grinds fresh black pepper
1 tsp. prepared horseradish (the stronger the better)

Combine all the ingredients (minus the beer) together. Mix vigorously. Add it to the beer.

At this point, crack in the raw egg… if you care to tempt fate.

Bottoms up!

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