"I'm a big beer dork, so I've had my fair share of Troublesome," says Nicole Brudd, a bartender at Wicker Park'sRevel Room. She's referring to Off Color Brewing's Troublesome, the beer with which Paul "PK" Kim of Cafe Marie-Jeanne challenged her to create a cocktail. "Troublesome is a gose, so it's a salted wheat beer with lactobacillus—you get a lot of lemon, sourness, saltiness," she says.
Brudd made a simple syrup with the beer, reducing it over heat to concentrate the flavor before adding sugar and water. She imagined pairing the syrup with tequila and celery bitters for a simple, savory cocktail, and experimented with the combination several ways: stirred, shaken, and up. "I was really confident, but [the drinks] were garbage," she says.
The beer cocktail No More Fedoras by Nicole Brudd of Revel Room
A few small adjustments vastly improved the cocktail, however. Brudd worked on it during a shift at the bar and used her customers as guinea pigs, giving them tastes of various iterations of the drink. "They'd pick one, then I'd add something, be like, 'Between these two, which do you like better?,'" she says.
She ended up using a slightly smoky sotol—a cousin of tequila made from the desert spoon plant (closely related to agave)—and adding yellow Chartreuse for an herbal, savory note. To reinforce the flavor of the beer, she topped the drink with a little more Troublesome.
Brudd has challenged Steve Gleich of Luxbar to create a cocktail using Spaghettios.
No More Fedoras Two dashes of celery bitters
.75 oz lemon juice
.25 oz yellow Chartreuse
1.5 oz sotol
1 oz Troublesome simple syrup*
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice, shake, and pour into an ice-filled glass rimmed with Hawaiian black sea salt and top with Troublesome beer.
*Troublesome syrup: Add two bottles of Troublesome to a saucepan and simmer until reduced by half, then stir in a cup of sugar and half a cup of water